bay

1 of 7

adjective

: reddish brown
a bay mare

bay

2 of 7

noun (1)

1
: an animal that is a reddish-brown color : a bay (see bay entry 1) animal
specifically : a horse with a bay-colored body and black mane, tail, and points (see point entry 1 sense 6b(3)) — compare chestnut entry 1 sense 4, sorrel entry 1 sense 1
2
: a reddish brown

bay

3 of 7

noun (2)

1
architecture : a principal compartment of the walls, roof, or other part of a building or of the whole building
… the transverse arches and adjacent piers of the arcade divide the building into bays Helen Gardner
2
architecture : a main division of a structure
a barn with three bays
3
: any of various compartments or sections used for a special purpose (as in an airplane, spacecraft, or gas station)
a bomb bay
a cargo bay
4
5
: a support or housing for electronic equipment

bay

4 of 7

verb

bayed; baying; bays

intransitive verb

1
: to bark with prolonged tones
dogs baying at the moon
2
: to cry out : shout
a baying crowd

transitive verb

1
: to bark at
dogs baying the moon
2
: to bring to the position of one unable to retreat and forced to face danger : to bring to bay (see bay entry 5 sense 2)
hounds baying a fox
3
: to pursue with barking
… dogs baying and driving him up a tree … Charles Darwin
4
: to utter in deep prolonged tones

bay

5 of 7

noun (3)

1
: an instance of a dog barking with prolonged tones : a baying (see bay entry 4 sense 1) of dogs
followed the trail in full bay
2
: the position of one unable to retreat and forced to face danger
brought the boar to bay
3
: the position of one checked
police kept the rioters at bay

bay

6 of 7

noun (4)

often attributive
1
: an inlet of the sea or other body of water usually smaller than a gulf
2
: a small body of water set off from the main body
3
: any of various terrestrial formations resembling a bay of the sea
a bay of prairie

bay

7 of 7

noun (5)

1
botany
b
: any of several shrubs or trees (such as the red bay or sweet bay) resembling the laurel — compare bay rum
2
a
: a garland or crown especially of laurel given as a prize for victory or excellence
had won the bays
b
: honor, fame
usually used in plural
The patriot's honours and the poet's bays.— John Trumbull

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Example Sentences

Verb the mob was baying for revenge the lonesome beagle bayed whenever someone walked by

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Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French bai, from Latin badius; akin to Old Irish buide yellow

Noun (1)

noun derivative of bay entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French baee opening, from feminine of baé, past participle of baer to be wide open, gape, from Vulgar Latin *batare

Verb

Middle English baien, abaien, from Anglo-French abaier, of imitative origin

Noun (3)

Middle English bai, abai, borrowed from Anglo-French abai, noun derivative of abaier "to bay entry 4"

Noun (4)

Middle English baye, from Anglo-French bai, perhaps from baer to be wide open

Noun (5)

Middle English, berry, laurel berry, from Anglo-French bai, from L. baca

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (4)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (5)

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near bay

Cite this Entry

“Bay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bay. Accessed 20 Aug. 2022.

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Kids Definition

bay

1 of 5 noun
1
: a reddish-brown horse with black mane, tail, and lower legs
2
: a reddish brown

bay

2 of 5 verb
bayed; baying
: to bark or bark at with long deep tones We heard dogs baying at the moon.

bay

3 of 5 noun
1
: a deep bark
2
: the position of an animal or a person forced to face pursuers when it is impossible to escape
Hunters brought the wild boar to bay.
3
: the position of someone or something held off or kept back
He kept the hounds at bay.
She held her fear at bay.

bay

4 of 5 noun
: a part of a large body of water extending into the land

bay

5 of 5 noun
: the laurel or a related tree or shrub

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