1 of 3

noun (1)

: great evil
: woe, sorrow
… bring us bale and bitter sorrowings …Edmund Spenser


2 of 3

noun (2)

: a large bundle of goods
specifically : a large closely pressed package of merchandise bound and usually wrapped
a bale of paper
a bale of hay


3 of 3


baled; baling

transitive verb

: to make up into a bale
in the field baling hay
baler noun

Examples of bale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Johnson pointed to Amazon Prime logos peppered throughout one of the bales. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2023 Putting Hungarian producers in the spotlight is owner Barbara Angeli-Poisson’s mission at this rustic-tinged restaurant (think brick walls and bales of hay) serving everyday brunches and dinners centered on nostalgic yet refined Hungarian dishes. Alia Akkam, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Mar. 2024 So, people in Ghana buy bales of clothing and are immediately in debt for each bale. Wayne Elsey, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 The calm scene is a far cry from the revving tractors and bales of hay blocking major highways just a few miles outside the city. Colette Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Feb. 2024 Sometimes 80 percent of the garments in a bale are usable. Julia Shipley, WIRED, 13 Jan. 2024 Co-founder and co-director Morgan Broome told Fox News Digital the group has trucked in nearly 40,000 bales of hay for the cattle. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 7 Mar. 2024 The luxury piece is available in both 14k white gold and yellow gold, featuring a pave diamond bale on a rope chain. Anna Tingley, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 Because bales are so cheap, however, most merchants need only sell 40 percent to turn a profit. Julia Shipley, WIRED, 13 Jan. 2024
As a teenager, Don built his strength baling hay on local farms while becoming a dazzling All-State star on the diamond, gridiron and hardwood at McKell High School. Alex Williams, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Sherman also sent boys to labor in fields around Southern California, picking citrus fruit, digging ditches, managing livestock and cutting and baling hay. Zach Levitt, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Hay bales can also be another stream of revenue for farmers—one farmer featured in the film, Ron, grows rice and is in the baling world and sends at least 10,000 to 15,000 for building every year. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 10 Aug. 2023 The idea was to highlight the role of women in agriculture, so each contestant had to have baled hay and done other farm work to qualify. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 14 July 2023 Women of all ages who have a history of baling hay and farming were invited to participate to represent their township (though now some live in villages and cities). Sam Boyer, cleveland, 14 July 2023 On the other side of all this, the Pac-12 likely is pulling together some combination of streaming services during an industry drought with gum and baling twine. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 June 2023 Brian DeNeve, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works, said the fire started in a paper storage bunker, a holding bin where the sorted grade of material accumulates prior to be baled and shipped out. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 31 May 2023 Sales Manager Leigh Shaffer said that while the fire totally destroyed the warehouse, the more important sorting and baling equipment was not damaged. Dennis Pillion |, al, 13 May 2023

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, "evil-doing, threat of evil, harm, destruction of life, torment, grief," going back to Old English bealu (neuter), genitive bealwes "evil-doing, malice, harm, destruction, torment," going back to Germanic *balwa- "evil," in both active and passive aspects (whence also Old Frisian bale- [in balemunda "disloyal guardian"], Old Saxon balu "wickedness," Middle Dutch bal- [in baldadich "wanton"], Old High German balo, palo "evil, disaster, treachery," Old Icelandic bǫl "misfortune," Gothic balwa- [in balwawesei "wickedness"]), noun derivative from neuter of an adjective *balwa- (whence Old English bealu "evil, pernicious"), going back to dialectal Indo-European *bhol-, whence also Old Church Slavic bolĭ "sick person," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian bôl "pain," Russian bol'

Note: The etymon *bhol- is attested with certainty only in Germanic and Slavic, assuming that this comparison itself is correct. Proposed links with other Indo-European branches, as Celtic, are less convincing.

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Middle French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German balla ball


derivative of bale entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above


1762, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bale was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bale

Cite this Entry

“Bale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a large bundle of goods tightly tied for storing or shipping
a bale of cotton


2 of 2 verb
baled; baling
: to make up into a bale
baler noun

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