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Bail out

the act of parachuting from an aircraft, especially to escape a crash, fire, etc.
an instance of coming to the rescue, especially financially:
a government bailout of a large company.
an alternative, additional choice, or the like:
If the highway is jammed, you have two side roads as bailouts.
of, relating to, or consisting of means for relieving an emergency situation:
bailout measures for hard-pressed smallbusinesses.
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

The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy has led to an unwelcome tendency to bail out all banks.
What the Eurozone Crisis is all About David Frum April 3, 2013

As our government bails out the banks, our entertainment culture will likely bail out A-Rod.
How A-Rod Can Save His Image Eric Dezenhall February 10, 2009

Unsaid: “We will bail out your banks if they get into trouble.”
European Finance Ministers Talk Tough About Bank Bailouts. Does It Matter? Megan McArdle March 25, 2013

At the moment, we can get the Texans to bail out the Californians, but that’s because they’re all part of the same country.
The End Is Near! Jeffrey Leeds March 4, 2009

Knight offered to post $1.4 million to bail out Tupac pending an appeal.
Tupac Shakur’s Race-Killer Prison Pal Talks Michael Daly July 28, 2014

Historical Examples

In the mean time the canoe sprung a leak, and we found it impossible to bail out the water as fast as it came in.
A Narrative of the Shipwreck, Captivity and Sufferings of Horace Holden and Benj. H. Nute Horace Holden

It required constant exertion on the part of Father Hennepin to bail out the water with a small birch cup, as fast as it ran in.
The Adventures of the Chevalier De La Salle and His Companions, in Their Explorations of the Prairies, Forests, Lakes, and Rivers, of the New World, and Their Interviews with the Savage Tribes, Two Hundred Years Ago John S. C. Abbott

I had had the rudder, but now started to bail out with small tins.
The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley

The present question is, Shall we bail out young Scarlett, or not?
The Tale of Timber Town Alfred Grace

It was on my mind the whole mission that if anything happened I would have to land the plane and not bail out.
The Biography of a Rabbit Roy Benson

verb (adverb)
(intransitive) to make an emergency parachute jump from an aircraft
(transitive) (informal) to help (a person, organization, etc) out of a predicament: the government bailed the company out
(intransitive) (informal) to escape from a predicament
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
an act of bailing out, usually by the government, of a failing institution or business

“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.

1945, in aviation, from bail (v.) + out (adv.). As “federal help for private business in trouble,” from 1968.

verb phrase

To abandon an effort, project, relationship, etc, in order to minimize losses: She has bailed out of doing more projects at this time

[1940s+; fr the 1920s aviation use, ”to parachute from an aircraft”]


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]
Empty water out of a boat, usually by dipping with a bucket or other container. For example, We had to keep bailing out water from this leaky canoe. [ Early 1600s ]
Rescue someone in an emergency, especially a financial crisis of some kind, as in They were counting on an inheritance to bail them out. [ ; 1900s ]
Jump out of an airplane, using a parachute. For example, When the second engine sputtered, the pilot decided to bail out. [ c. 1930 ]
Give up on something, abandon a responsibility, as in The company was not doing well, so John decided to bail out while he could still find another job. [ Second half of 1900s ]
See make bail
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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    a person to whom personal property is delivered in bailment. Historical Examples If it ever came to anything like that, which I don’t think it will, the charge would be embezzlement or perhaps larceny as bailee. The Financier Theodore Dreiser It has often been remarked that a servant must be distinguished from a bailee. The […]

  • Bailer

    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 […]

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