the act or manner of using a bat in a game of ball.
cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers in batts or sheets, used as filling for quilts or bedcovers.

the wooden club used in certain games, as baseball and cricket, to strike the ball.
a racket, especially one used in badminton or table tennis.
a whip used by a jockey.
the act of using a club or racket in a game.
the right or turn to use a club or racket.

a heavy stick, club, or cudgel.
Informal. a blow, as with a bat.
any fragment of brick or hardened clay.
Masonry. a brick cut transversely so as to leave one end whole.
British Slang. speed; rate of motion or progress, especially the pace of the stroke or step of a race.
Slang. a spree; binge:
to go on a bat.

a sheet of gelatin or glue used in bat printing.
a slab of moist clay.
a ledge or shelf in a kiln.
a slab of plaster for holding a piece being modeled or for absorbing excess water from slip.

to strike or hit with or as if with a bat or club.
Baseball. to have a batting average of; hit:
He batted .325 in spring training.

to strike at the ball with the bat.
to take one’s turn as a batter.

Slang. to rush.
bat around,

Slang. to roam; drift.
Informal. to discuss or ponder; debate:
We batted the idea around.
Baseball. to have every player in the lineup take a turn at bat during a single inning.

bat in, Baseball. to cause (a run) to be scored by getting a hit:
He batted in two runs with a double to left.
bat out, to do, write, produce, etc., hurriedly:
I have to bat out a term paper before class.
at bat, Baseball.

taking one’s turn to bat in a game:
at bat with two men in scoring position.
an instance at bat officially charged to a batter except when the batter is hit by a pitch, receives a base on balls, is interfered with by the catcher, or makes a sacrifice hit or sacrifice fly:
two hits in three at bats.

bat the breeze. breeze1 (def 11).
go to bat for, Informal. to intercede for; vouch for; defend:
to go to bat for a friend.
right off the bat, Informal. at once; without delay:
They asked me to sing right off the bat.
to blink; wink; flutter.
not bat an eye, to show no emotion or surprise; maintain a calm exterior:
The murderer didn’t bat an eye when the jury announced its verdict of guilty.
Contemporary Examples

“It just happened,” she says, batting her big blue eyes at him.
Indie Dream Girls Doree Shafrir July 19, 2009

As for ascending starlet Ali (Aguilera), she is all batting eyelashes and sugary sweet can-do-ness.
Burlesque v. Showgirls: The Face-Off Nicole LaPorte November 22, 2010

The numbers Markopolis calculated showed that, if Madoff’s options trading was legit, he’d be batting .984.
Madoff Victim Reviews New Madoff Doc Alexandra Penney August 25, 2011

Louie and Amia were perfectly happy to drift along, batting eyes at each other but never taking it to the next level.
Louie’s Elevator Romance: Can Love Exist Without Sex? Amanda Marcotte May 29, 2014

“This is batting practice for Hillary and the people around her,” he says.
Sharks Are Circling Around Hillary Eleanor Clift March 12, 2014

Historical Examples

The batting mill has already gone a thousand dollars beyond the estimates, and the roof is but just put on.
The Galaxy Various

He was facing the boat and batting the leader with his sword.
Tales of Fishes Zane Grey

The head of their batting order is coming up, but the way youve been pitching up to now they all look alike to you.
Baseball Joe, Home Run King Lester Chadwick

This batting of the leader and consequent slacking of the line worried Dan, as it did me.
Tales of Fishes Zane Grey

Tom pitched to the batters on Friday, and the result proved that batting practice was far from being a waste of time.
The Lucky Seventh Ralph Henry Barbour

Also called batt. cotton or woollen wadding used in quilts, mattresses, etc
the action of a person or team that hits with a bat, esp in cricket or baseball
any of various types of club with a handle, used to hit the ball in certain sports, such as cricket, baseball, or table tennis
a flat round club with a short handle, resembling a table-tennis bat, used by a man on the ground to guide the pilot of an aircraft when taxiing
(cricket) short for batsman
any stout stick, esp a wooden one
(informal) a blow from such a stick
(Austral) a small board used for tossing the coins in the game of two-up
(US & Canadian, slang) a drinking spree; binge
(slang) speed; rate; pace: they went at a fair bat
another word for batting (sense 1)
(cricket) carry one’s bat, (of an opening batsman) to reach the end of an innings without being dismissed
off one’s own bat

of one’s own accord; without being prompted by someone else
by one’s own unaided efforts

(US & Canadian, informal) off the bat, right off the bat, immediately; without hesitation
verb bats, batting, batted
(transitive) to strike with or as if with a bat
(intransitive) (sport) (of a player or a team) to take a turn at batting
any placental mammal of the order Chiroptera, being a nocturnal mouselike animal flying with a pair of membranous wings (patagia). The group is divided into the Megachiroptera (fruit bats) and Microchiroptera (insectivorous bats) related adjective chiropteran
(slang) an irritating or eccentric woman (esp in the phrase old bat)
blind as a bat, having extremely poor eyesight
(informal) have bats in the belfry, have bats in one’s belfry, to be mad or eccentric; have strange ideas
(slang) like a bat out of hell, very quickly
verb (transitive) bats, batting, batted
to wink or flutter (one’s eyelids)
(informal) not bat an eye, not bat an eyelid, to show no surprise or concern

“sheets of cotton fiber,” 1875, variant of obsolete bat “felted mass of fur, wool, etc.,” from bat (n.1), on notion of “beaten” fabric.

“a stick, a club,” Old English *batt “cudgel,” perhaps from Celtic (cf. Irish and Gaelic bat, bata “staff, cudgel”), influenced by Old French batte, from Late Latin battre “beat;” all from PIE root *bhat- “to strike.” Also “a lump, piece” (mid-14c.), as in brickbat. As a kind of paddle used to play cricket, it is attested from 1706.

Phrase right off the bat is 1888, also hot from the bat (1888), probably a baseball metaphor, but cricket is possible as a source; there is an early citation from Australia (in an article about slang): “Well, it is a vice you’d better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again, and I’ll give it to him right off the bat. I’ll wipe up the floor with him. I’ll —” [“The Australian Journal,” November 1888].

flying mammal (order Chiroptera), 1570s, a dialectal alteration of Middle English bakke (early 14c.), which is probably related to Old Swedish natbakka, Old Danish nathbakkæ “night bat,” and Old Norse leðrblaka “leather flapper,” so original sense is likely “flapper.” The shift from -k- to -t- may have come through confusion of bakke with Latin blatta “moth, nocturnal insect.”

Old English word for the animal was hreremus, from hreran “to shake” (see rare (adj.2)), and rattle-mouse is attested from late 16c., an old dialectal word for “bat.” As a contemptuous term for an old woman, perhaps a suggestion of witchcraft (cf. fly-by-night), or from bat as “prostitute who plies her trade by night” [Farmer, who calls it “old slang” and finds French equivalent “night swallow” (hirondelle de nuit) “more poetic”].

“to move the eyelids,” 1847, American English, from earlier sense of “flutter as a hawk” (1610s), a variant of bate (v.2) on the notion of fluttering wings. Related: Batted; batting.

“to hit with a bat,” mid-15c., from bat (n.1). Related: Batted; batting.


A prostitute; a loose woman •Probably so called because she works at night (1600s+)
old bat
A woman, esp an ugly one (1880s+)
A spree; carousal; binge (1840s+)

Related Terms

go to bat against, go to bat for, have bats in one’s belfry, like a bat out of hell, right off the bat, take off like a bigass bird
Bachelor of Arts in Teaching
best available technology

The Hebrew word (atalleph’) so rendered (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18) implies “flying in the dark.” The bat is reckoned among the birds in the list of unclean animals. To cast idols to the “moles and to the bats” means to carry them into dark caverns or desolate places to which these animals resort (Isa. 2:20), i.e., to consign them to desolation or ruin.

bat an eye
bat around
bat one thousand
bat the breeze


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