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a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf.
South Atlantic States. an arm of a swamp.
a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills.
an arm of a prairie or swamp, extending into woods and partly surrounded by them.

any of a number of similar major vertical divisions of a large interior, wall, etc.:
The nave is divided into six bays.
a division of a window between a mullion and an adjoining mullion or jamb.
bay window (def 1).


any portion of an airplane set off by two successive bulkheads or other bracing members.
a compartment in an aircraft:
a bomb bay; an engine bay.

a compartment, as in a barn for storing hay.
Also called drive bay. an open compartment in the console housing a computer’s CPU in which a disk drive, tape drive, etc., may be installed.

the deck space between the anchor windlass and the stem of a vessel.
sick bay.

a deep, prolonged howl, as of a hound on the scent.
the position or stand of an animal or fugitive that is forced to turn and resist pursuers because it is no longer possible to flee (usually preceded by at or to):
a stag at bay; to bring an escaped convict to bay.
the situation of a person or thing that is forced actively to oppose or to succumb to some adverse condition (usually preceded by at or to).
the situation of being actively opposed by an animal, person, etc., so as to be powerless to act fully (often preceded by at).
to howl, especially with a deep, prolonged sound, as a hound on the scent.
to assail with deep, prolonged howling:
a troubled hound baying the moon.
to bring to or to hold at bay:
A dog bays its quarry.
laurel (def 1).
Also called bayberry, bay rum tree. a tropical American shrub, Pimenta racemosa, having aromatic leaves that are used in making bay oil and bay rum.
any of various laurellike trees or shrubs.
any of several magnolias.
an honorary garland or crown bestowed for military victory, literary excellence, etc.
bays, fame; renown.
reddish brown.
a horse or other animal of reddish-brown color.
(of horses or other animals) having a reddish-brown body.
Contemporary Examples

The power the bay State has wielded in Washington has really been through the Congress.
Wilson Sends Dukakis to DC? Dan Payne September 14, 2009

The bay of Pigs was, in the words of the historian Robert Draper, “one of those rare events in history—a perfect failure.”
Rick Perry’s Bay of Pigs Moment Peter Beinart December 15, 2011

But he and many other Afghans seem less than confident that the Taliban can be kept at bay for long after the U.S. exodus.
The Afghan Village That Saved Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau November 7, 2013

Add the butter, chicken stock, salt, bay leaf, thyme, and tarragon and bring to a simmer.
Daniel Boulud Reveals His 4 Favorite Recipes From His New Cookbook Daniel Boulud October 14, 2013

The barrier of stigma wedged between a person and others they deem “dirty” or “derelict” will not keep AIDS at bay.
Should People Who Spread HIV Go to Jail? Regan Hofmann May 6, 2009

Historical Examples

If they come here in force you will not be able to keep them at bay long.
A Roving Commission G. A. Henty

Meantime a white film of fog spread down the bay from the northward.
Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson

They all returned, therefore, to Baker’s bay in no very good humor.
Astoria Washington Irving

He knew something of horses, and this bay fitted into his dreams of an ideal perfectly.
Way of the Lawless Max Brand

She arrived in the bay at a time when the explorers were sleeping after some heavy journeys.
The Romance of Polar Exploration G. Firth Scott

a wide semicircular indentation of a shoreline, esp between two headlands or peninsulas
an extension of lowland into hills that partly surround it
(US) an extension of prairie into woodland
an alcove or recess in a wall
any partly enclosed compartment, as one in which hay is stored in a barn
See bay window
an area off a road in which vehicles may park or unload, esp one adjacent to a shop, factory, etc
a compartment in an aircraft, esp one used for a specified purpose: the bomb bay
(nautical) a compartment in the forward part of a ship between decks, often used as the ship’s hospital
(Brit) a tracked recess in the platform of a railway station, esp one forming the terminus of a branch line
a deep howl or growl, esp of a hound on the scent
at bay

(of a person or animal) forced to turn and face attackers: the dogs held the deer at bay
at a distance: to keep a disease at bay

bring to bay, to force into a position from which retreat is impossible
(intransitive) to howl (at) in deep prolonged tones
(transitive) to utter in a loud prolonged tone
(transitive) to drive to or hold at bay
Also called bay laurel, sweet bay. a small evergreen Mediterranean laurel, Laurus nobilis, with glossy aromatic leaves, used for flavouring in cooking, and small blackish berries See laurel (sense 1)
any of various other trees with strongly aromatic leaves used in cooking, esp a member of the genera Myrica or Pimenta
any of several magnolias See sweet bay
any of certain other trees or shrubs, esp bayberry
(pl) a wreath of bay leaves See laurel (sense 6)

a moderate reddish-brown colour
(as adjective): a bay horse

an animal of this colour, esp a horse

“inlet of the sea,” c.1400, from Old French baie, Late Latin baia (c.640), perhaps ultimately from Iberian bahia.

“opening in a wall,” late 14c. (especially bay window, early 15c.), from Old French baee “opening, hole, gulf,” noun use of fem. past participle of bayer “to gape, yawn,” from Medieval Latin batare “gape,” perhaps of imitative origin. It is the bay in sick-bay.

“howl of a dog,” early 14c., earlier “howling chorus raised (by hounds) when in contact with the hunted animal,” c.1300, from Old French bayer, from PIE root *bai- echoic of howling (cf. Greek bauzein, Latin baubari “to bark,” English bow-wow; cf. also bawl). From the hunting usage comes the transferred sense of “final encounter,” and thence, on the notion of putting up an effective defense, at bay.

laurel shrub (Laurus nobilis, source of the bay leaf), late 14c., originally only of the berry, from Old French baie (12c.) “berry, seed,” from Latin baca “berry.” Extension to the shrub itself is from 1520s. The leaves or sprigs were woven as wreaths for conquerors or poets. Bayberry first recorded 1570s, after the original sense had shifted.

“reddish-brown,” usually of horses, mid-14c., from Anglo-French bai (13c.), Old French bai, from Latin badius “chestnut-brown” (used only of horses), from PIE *badyo- “yellow, brown” (cf. Old Irish buide “yellow”). Also elliptical for a horse of this color.

“to bark or howl (at),” late 14c., from bay (n.3). Related: Bayed; baying.

A body of water partially enclosed by land but having a wide outlet to the sea. A bay is usually smaller than a gulf.

A space in the cabinet of a personal computer where a storage device, such as a disk drive or CD-ROM drive, can be installed.

(As in an aeroplane “cargo bay”) A space in a cabinet into which a device of a certain size can be physically mounted and connected to power and data.
Common examples are a “drive bay” into which a disk drive (usually either 3.5 inch or 5.25 inch) can be inserted or the space in a docking station where you insert a notebook computer or laptop computer to work as a desktop computer or to charge their batteries, print or connect to the office network, etc.

denotes the estuary of the Dead Sea at the mouth of the Jordan (Josh. 15:5; 18:19), also the southern extremity of the same sea (15:2). The same Hebrew word is rendered “tongue” in Isa. 11:15, where it is used with reference to the forked mouths of the Nile. Bay in Zech. 6:3, 7 denotes the colour of horses, but the original Hebrew means strong, and is here used rather to describe the horses as fleet or spirited.

see: at bay


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