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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
The Strand Villa’s glass doors open to reveal a lush private garden with a large pool, deck and a bale bengong, a traditional Indonesian gazebo with day beds for relaxing. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Besides the crawling, climbing, wading, bale-hopping and base-running, the nine legs included a bike leg for runners with injuries, a loop on sand and a loop in the woods that brought an extra challenge. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Oct. 2020 His cousin, Victor Nemec, told KELO-TV that earlier Saturday, Boever had crashed his truck into a hay bale near Highway 14, and planned on fixing it Sunday. TheWeek, 15 Sep. 2020 Boever had crashed his truck into a hay bale near the road earlier Saturday evening, according to Nemec. CBS News, 15 Sep. 2020 This site is protected by recaptcha Privacy Policy | Terms of Service Earlier on that Saturday, Boever had crashed his truck into a hay bale on Highway 14, family said. NBC News, 15 Sep. 2020 Spinnova’s high confidence level in their data and insistence on transparency means that emissions and water usage data will be attached to each bale of Spinnova fiber that exits their production facility. Brooke Roberts-islam, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Officials with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in the Florida Keys announced that a bale of cocaine had been found in Islamorada last week, around the same time similar packages washed up on Alabama beaches. al, 23 May 2021 In a new straw bale winery, Lemon makes wine from Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes that originated in Burgundy. Rebecca Coffey, Discover Magazine, 26 Sep. 2011
There, Eco-Cycle will catalog data about polybag generation rates, bale them, and send them to Trex. Kristin Hostetter, Outside Online, 15 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 28 Mar. 2023.

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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