• Bay

    Pronunciation

    • enPR: , IPA: /beɪ/
    • Rhymes: -eɪ

    Origin 1

    From Middle English baye, baie, from Old English beġ ("berry"), as in beġbēam ("berry-tree"), conflated with Old French baie, from Latin bāca ("berry").

    Full definition of bay

    Noun

    bay

    (plural bays)
    1. (obsolete) A berry.
    2. , a shrub of the family Lauraceae, having dark green leaves and berries.
    3. (in the plural, now rare) The leaves of this shrub, woven into a garland used to reward a champion or victor; hence, fame, victory.
      • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.i:both you here with many a cursed oth,
        Sweare she is yours, and stirre vp bloudie frayes,
        To win a willow bough, whilest other weares the bayes.
    4. The leaf of this or certain other species of shrub, used as a herb.
      • TrumbullThe patriot's honours and the poet's bays.
    5. (US, dialect) A tract covered with bay trees.
    6. A kind of mahogany obtained from Campeche in Mexico.

    Origin 2

    From French baie, from Late Latin baia.

    Noun

    bay

    (plural bays)
    1. (geography) A body of water (especially the sea) more or less three-quarters surrounded by land.
      • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, Mr. Pratt's Patients Chapter 1, 'Twas early June, the new grass was flourishing everywheres, the posies in the yard—peonies and such—in full bloom, the sun was shining, and the water of the bay was blue, with light green streaks where the shoal showed.
    2. A bank or dam to keep back water.

    Synonyms

    • (body of water) gulf

    Derived terms

    Origin 3

    From French baie, from Old French baé, masculine singular past participle of the verb baer, from Vulgar Latin *badō ("I am open").

    Noun

    bay

    (plural bays)
    1. An opening in a wall, especially between two columns.
    2. An internal recess; a compartment or area surrounded on three sides.
      • 2013-06-01, Ideas coming down the track, A “moving platform” scheme...is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. Local trains would use side-by-side rails to roll alongside intercity trains and allow passengers to switch trains by stepping through docking bays.
    3. The distance between two supports in a vault or building with a pitched roof.
    4. (nautical) Each of the spaces, port and starboard, between decks, forward of the bitts, in sailing warships.
    5. (rail transport) A bay platform.
    6. Shortened form of bay window.

    Derived terms

    terms derived from bay Etymology 3

    Origin 4

    From Old French bay, combined with aphesized form of abay; verbal form Old French baier, abaier.

    Noun

    bay

    (plural bays)
    1. The excited howling of dogs when hunting or being attacked.
    2. (by extension) The climactic confrontation between hunting-dogs and their prey.
    3. (figuratively) A state of being obliged to face an antagonist or a difficulty, when escape has become impossible.
      • unknown date DrydenEmbolden'd by despair, he stood at bay.
      • unknown date I. TaylorThe most terrible evils are just kept at bay by incessant efforts.

    Derived terms

    Verb

    1. (intransitive) To howl.
      • unknown date DrydenThe hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bayed.
    2. (transitive) To bark at; hence, to follow with barking; to bring or drive to bay.to bay the bear
    3. (transitive) To pursue noisily, like a pack of hounds.

    Derived terms

    Origin 5

    From French baie, from Latin badius ("reddish brown, chestnut").

    Adjective

    bay

    1. Of a reddish-brown colour (especially of horses).

    Derived terms

    Noun

    bay

    (uncountable)
    1. A brown colour/color of the coat of some horses.
    2. A horse of this color.

    Anagrams

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