bale

noun (1)
\ ˈbāl How to pronounce bale (audio) \

Definition of bale

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

bale

noun (2)

Definition of bale (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

bale

verb
baled; baling

Definition of bale (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

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

Other Words from bale

Verb

baler noun

First Known Use of bale

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1762, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bale

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

Verb

derivative of bale entry 2

Learn More About bale

Time Traveler for bale

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near bale

baldy

bale

baleage

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Cite this Entry

“Bale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bale. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bale

bale

noun
\ ˈbāl How to pronounce bale (audio) \

Kids Definition of bale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

bale

verb
baled; baling

Kids Definition of bale (Entry 2 of 2)

: to press together and tightly tie or wrap into a large bundle

Other Words from bale

baler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on bale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bale

Nglish: Translation of bale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bale for Arabic Speakers

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