bail

1 of 7

noun (1)

: a container used to remove water from a boat

bail

2 of 7

verb (1)

bailed; bailing; bails

transitive verb

1
: to clear (water) from a boat by dipping and throwing over the side
usually used with out
bailing water out of the boat
2
: to clear water from by dipping and throwing
usually used with out
had to start bailing out the rowboat

intransitive verb

: bail out sense 2
You can't say he has ever bailed when things got tough, because that's just not true.Richard Hoffer
Before the party moved elsewhere, I bailed, exhausted.Steve Hirdt

bail

3 of 7

noun (2)

1
law : the temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security (see security sense 2a) given for the prisoner's appearance at a later hearing
being held without bail
The suspect is now out on bail.
2
law : security given for the release of a prisoner on bail
Bail was set at $300,000.
a motion to reduce bail
3
law : one who provides bail

bail

4 of 7

verb (2)

bailed; bailing; bails

transitive verb

1
: to temporarily release (a prisoner) in exchange for security (see security sense 2a) given for appearance at a later hearing : to release under bail (see bail entry 3 sense 1)
2
: to procure the release of by giving bail (see bail entry 3 sense 2)
often used with out
Her lawyer bailed her out of jail.
3
: to help from a predicament
used with out
His parents are always bailing him out of trouble.
bail out impoverished countries
bailable adjective

bail

5 of 7

noun (3)

1
a
: a U-shaped strip used to support something (such as the cover of a wagon or the canopy of a small boat)
b
: a hinged bar for holding paper against the platen of a typewriter
2
: a usually arched handle (as of a kettle or pail)

bail

6 of 7

verb (3)

bailed; bailing; bails

transitive verb

: to deliver (personal property) in trust to another for a special purpose and for a limited period

bail

7 of 7

noun (4)

chiefly British
: a device for confining or separating animals

Examples of bail in a Sentence

Verb (1) after two hours of that boring party, we were ready to bail
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Martin was being held at the facility without bail. Darrell Smith, Sacramento Bee, 8 June 2024 Zuniga is being held without bail and is not due in court to enter a plea until July 9, records show. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 6 June 2024
Verb
His family says officers have it wrong Angela Lewis, the mother of Lewis, said her son was inside the home unaware of what was happening when his sister bailed from the car and ran into the home through a rear door as law enforcement officers approached on the front lawn. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 4 June 2024 Trump could one day cash in and bail from the company – which could hurt shareholders like Peedin. Rafael Nam, NPR, 2 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for bail 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English baille, from Anglo-French, bucket, from Medieval Latin bajula water vessel, from feminine of Latin bajulus porter, carrier

Verb (1)

verbal derivative of bail entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English, custody, bail, from Anglo-French, literally, handing over, delivery, from baillier to give, entrust, hand over, from Latin bajulare to carry a burden, from bajulus porter, carrier

Verb (2)

verbal derivatiave of bail entry 3

Noun (3)

Middle English beil, baile, probably from Old English *begel, *bygel; akin to Middle Dutch beughel iron ring, hilt guard; akin to Old English būgan to bend — more at bow

Verb (3)

Anglo-French baillier

Noun (4)

perhaps from bail entry 5

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1613, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (3)

1768, in the meaning defined above

Noun (4)

1844, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bail was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near bail

Cite this Entry

“Bail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bail. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

bail

1 of 5 noun
: a container used to remove water from a boat

bail

2 of 5 verb
: to remove (water) from a boat by dipping and throwing over the side
usually used with out

bail

3 of 5 noun
1
: the temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for a deposit of money ensuring the later appearance of the prisoner in court
2
: the deposit of money needed to temporarily free a prisoner
3
: a person who provides bail

bail

4 of 5 verb
: to get the release of (a prisoner) by giving bail

bail

5 of 5 noun
1
: a semicircular support
2
: the handle of a kettle or pail
Etymology

Noun

Middle English baille "bucket, bail," from early French baille "bucket," from Latin bajula "water container," derived from bajulus "porter, carrier"

Noun

Middle English bail "custody, bail," derived from early French baillier "to give, entrust," derived from Latin bajulare "to carry a load," from bajulus "porter, carrier"

Noun

Middle English beil, baile "half hoop, bail"

Legal Definition

bail

1 of 2 noun
1
: the temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security given for the prisoner's appearance at a later hearing
while free on bail
2
: the security given for a prisoner's release
also : the amount or terms of the security
excessive bail shall not be required U.S. Constitution amend. VIII
posted cash bail
motion to reduce bail
3
: one who provides bail and is liable for the released prisoner's appearance
bail may arrest or authorize arrest of principalCode of Alabama

bail

2 of 2 transitive verb
1
: to release on bail
2
: to obtain the release of by giving bail
often used with out
3
: to place (personal property) under a bailment
identity of the article claimed to have been bailedPeet v. Roth Hotel Co., 253 N.W. 546 (1934)

Note: Property is usually bailed by putting it temporarily in the custody of another for a specific purpose, as safekeeping or delivery to a third party.

Etymology

Noun

Anglo-French, act of handing over, delivery of a prisoner into someone's custody in exchange for security, from bailler to hand over, entrust, from Old French, from Latin bajulare to carry (a burden)

More from Merriam-Webster on bail

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