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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.

Historical Examples

Two of us pushed with sticks while the third baled her out with a gourd which we found in the boat.
The Dispatch Carrier and Memoirs of Andersonville Prison William N. Tyler

When all the water is pumped or baled out, the vessel is said to be free.
The Sailor’s Word-Book William Henry Smyth

The schooner towed his boat until he had baled the water out and got hold of his oars.
The Mermaid Lily Dougall

He gets some in the packing of nursery stock, crockery, baled hay and straw.
Seed Dispersal William J. Beal

The oil is found in its liquid state, and is baled out with buckets, from a hole cut in the top of the head.
Memoirs of Service Afloat, During the War Between the States Raphael Semmes

As the boiling oil rose it was baled into copper cooling-tanks.
Fighting the Whales R.M. Ballantyne

The water was baled out of the boat that had been capsized, and she was taken over to the west head.
The Book of the Bush George Dunderdale

She was half full of water and he baled her as well as he could with his bonnet, then pushed her off!
Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro

If necessary, they may be baled into the hallway and permitted to escape by way of the stairs, which we may term the lee scuppers.
Whirligigs O. Henry

No; breakfast will be ready by the time you have baled out the boat.
Little By Little William Taylor Adams

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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