a large bundle or package prepared for shipping, storage, or sale, especially one tightly compressed and secured by wires, hoops, cords, or the like, and sometimes having a wrapping or covering:
a bale of cotton; a bale of hay.
a group of turtles.
to make or form into bales:
to bale wastepaper for disposal.
bail3 (defs 1–3).
to dip (water) out of a boat, as with a bucket.
to clear of water by dipping (usually followed by out):
to bail out a boat.
to bail water.
Also, bailer. a bucket, dipper, or other container used for bailing.
bail out,

to make a parachute jump from an airplane.
to relieve or assist (a person, company, etc.) in an emergency situation, especially a financial crisis:
The corporation bailed out its failing subsidiary through a series of refinancing operations.
to give up on or abandon something, as to evade a responsibility:
His partner bailed out before the business failed.

Contemporary Examples

Unfortunately, you can’t hold together a high-tech oil drilling economy with baling wire and chewing gum.
Why Hugo Chavez Was Bad for Venezuela Megan McArdle March 6, 2013

Historical Examples

The coxswain then went forward and helped with the baling, while the men recommenced rowing in silence.
The Black Bar George Manville Fenn

He and the doctor set the example by baling away as hard as any of us.
Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston

We were then under a necessity of letting all our slaves out of irons, to assist in pumping and baling.
Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy Anonymous

To him it was a baling tin; here there were no boats to be baled out—where was the use of it?
The Beach of Dreams H. De Vere Stacpoole

You lazy rascal, you slept like a pig all night, while I have been baling the boat and looking out for you.
With Lee in Virginia G. A. Henty

We had to continue pumping and baling as energetically as before.
Captain Mugford W.H.G. Kingston

While we were thus engaged the boys were pumping and baling.
James Braithwaite, the Supercargo W.H.G. Kingston

The arrangement for baling out the bilge water is extremely laborious.
Southern Arabia Theodore Bent

In Turkey, the tobacco after remaining in the dwelling-room of the house a sufficient time, is ready for baling.
Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce E. R. Billings.

a sum of money by which a person is bound to take responsibility for the appearance in court of another person or himself or herself, forfeited if the person fails to appear
the person or persons so binding themselves; surety
the system permitting release of a person from custody where such security has been taken: he was released on bail
jump bail, (formal) forfeit bail, to fail to appear in court to answer to a charge
stand bail, go bail, to act as surety (for someone)
verb (transitive)
(often foll by out) to release or obtain the release of (a person) from custody, security having been made
(often foll by out) to remove (water) from (a boat)
(cricket) either of two small wooden bars placed across the tops of the stumps to form the wicket

a partition between stalls in a stable or barn, for horses
a portable dairy house built on wheels or skids

(Austral & NZ) a framework in a cowshed used to secure the head of a cow during milking
See bail up
the semicircular handle of a kettle, bucket, etc
a semicircular support for a canopy
a movable bar on a typewriter that holds the paper against the platen
a large bundle, esp of a raw or partially processed material, bound by ropes, wires, etc, for storage or transportation: bale of hay
a large package or carton of goods
(US) 500 pounds of cotton
a group of turtles
(Austral & NZ) See wool bale
to make (hay, etc) into a bale or bales
to put (goods) into packages or cartons
(Austral & NZ) to pack and compress (wool) into wool bales
noun (archaic)
evil; injury
woe; suffering; pain
a variant spelling of bail2
a variant spelling of bail4
the French name for Basle

“bond money,” late 15c., a sense that apparently developed from that of “temporary release from jail” (into the custody of another, who gives security), recorded from early 15c. That evolved from earlier meaning “captivity, custody” (early 14c.). From Old French baillier “to control, to guard, deliver” (12c.), from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden,” from bajulus “porter,” of unknown origin. In late 18c. criminal slang, to give leg bail meant “to run away.”

“horizontal piece of wood in a cricket wicket,” c.1742, originally “any cross bar” (1570s), probably identical with Middle French bail “horizontal piece of wood affixed on two stakes,” and with English bail “palisade wall, outer wall of a castle” (see bailey).

“to dip water out of,” 1610s, from baile (n.) “small wooden bucket” (mid-14c.), from nautical Old French baille “bucket, pail,” from Medieval Latin *bajula (aquae), literally “porter of water,” from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden” (see bail (n.1)). To bail out “leave suddenly” (intransitive) is recorded from 1930, originally of airplane pilots. Related: Bailed; bailing.

“to procure someone’s release from prison” (by posting bail), 1580s, from bail (n.1); usually with out. Related: Bailed; bailing.

“large bundle or package,” early 14c., from Old French bale “rolled-up bundle,” from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German balla “ball”), from Proto-Germanic *ball-, from PIE *bhel- (2) “to blow, swell” (see bole).


To leave; cut out, split: Bruce has bailed from the scene entirely/ Most of my friends had bailed to stay with other relatives

Related Terms

jump bail

[1970s+ college students; fr bail out]
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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