1. a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf.
  2. South Atlantic States. an arm of a swamp.
  3. a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills.
  4. an arm of a prairie or swamp, extending into woods and partly surrounded by them.


  1. Architecture.
    1. any of a number of similar major vertical divisions of a large interior, wall, etc.: The nave is divided into six bays.
    2. a division of a window between a mullion and an adjoining mullion or jamb.
    3. bay window(def 1).
  2. Aeronautics.
    1. any portion of an airplane set off by two successive bulkheads or other bracing members.
    2. a compartment in an aircraft: a bomb bay; an engine bay.
  3. a compartment, as in a barn for storing hay.
  4. Also called drive bay. an open compartment in the console housing a computer’s CPU in which a disk drive, tape drive, etc., may be installed.
  5. Nautical.
    1. the deck space between the anchor windlass and the stem of a vessel.
    2. sick bay.


  1. a deep, prolonged howl, as of a hound on the scent.
  2. the position or stand of an animal or fugitive that is forced to turn and resist pursuers because it is no longer possible to flee (usually preceded by at or to): a stag at bay; to bring an escaped convict to bay.
  3. the situation of a person or thing that is forced actively to oppose or to succumb to some adverse condition (usually preceded by at or to).
  4. the situation of being actively opposed by an animal, person, etc., so as to be powerless to act fully (often preceded by at).

verb (used without object)

  1. to howl, especially with a deep, prolonged sound, as a hound on the scent.

verb (used with object)

  1. to assail with deep, prolonged howling: a troubled hound baying the moon.
  2. to bring to or to hold at bay: A dog bays its quarry.


  1. laurel(def 1).
  2. Also called bayberry, bay rum tree. a tropical American shrub, Pimenta racemosa, having aromatic leaves that are used in making bay oil and bay rum.
  3. any of various laurellike trees or shrubs.
  4. any of several magnolias.
  5. an honorary garland or crown bestowed for military victory, literary excellence, etc.
  6. bays, fame; renown.


  1. reddish brown.
  2. a horse or other animal of reddish-brown color.


  1. (of horses or other animals) having a reddish-brown body.


  1. a wide semicircular indentation of a shoreline, esp between two headlands or peninsulas
  2. an extension of lowland into hills that partly surround it
  3. US an extension of prairie into woodland


  1. an alcove or recess in a wall
  2. any partly enclosed compartment, as one in which hay is stored in a barn
  3. See bay window
  4. an area off a road in which vehicles may park or unload, esp one adjacent to a shop, factory, etc
  5. a compartment in an aircraft, esp one used for a specified purposethe bomb bay
  6. nautical a compartment in the forward part of a ship between decks, often used as the ship’s hospital
  7. British a tracked recess in the platform of a railway station, esp one forming the terminus of a branch line


  1. a deep howl or growl, esp of a hound on the scent
  2. at bay
    1. (of a person or animal) forced to turn and face attackersthe dogs held the deer at bay
    2. at a distanceto keep a disease at bay
  3. bring to bay to force into a position from which retreat is impossible


  1. (intr) to howl (at) in deep prolonged tones
  2. (tr) to utter in a loud prolonged tone
  3. (tr) to drive to or hold at bay


  1. Also called: bay laurel, sweet bay a small evergreen Mediterranean laurel, Laurus nobilis, with glossy aromatic leaves, used for flavouring in cooking, and small blackish berriesSee laurel (def. 1)
  2. any of various other trees with strongly aromatic leaves used in cooking, esp a member of the genera Myrica or Pimenta
  3. any of several magnoliasSee sweet bay
  4. any of certain other trees or shrubs, esp bayberry
  5. (plural) a wreath of bay leavesSee laurel (def. 6)


    1. a moderate reddish-brown colour
    2. (as adjective)a bay horse
  1. an animal of this colour, esp a horse

“inlet of the sea,” c.1400, from Old French baie, Late Latin baia (c.640), perhaps ultimately from Iberian bahia.


“opening in a wall,” late 14c. (especially bay window, early 15c.), from Old French baee “opening, hole, gulf,” noun use of fem. past participle of bayer “to gape, yawn,” from Medieval Latin batare “gape,” perhaps of imitative origin. It is the bay in sick-bay.


“howl of a dog,” early 14c., earlier “howling chorus raised (by hounds) when in contact with the hunted animal,” c.1300, from Old French bayer, from PIE root *bai- echoic of howling (cf. Greek bauzein, Latin baubari “to bark,” English bow-wow; cf. also bawl). From the hunting usage comes the transferred sense of “final encounter,” and thence, on the notion of putting up an effective defense, at bay.


“reddish-brown,” usually of horses, mid-14c., from Anglo-French bai (13c.), Old French bai, from Latin badius “chestnut-brown” (used only of horses), from PIE *badyo- “yellow, brown” (cf. Old Irish buide “yellow”). Also elliptical for a horse of this color.


laurel shrub (Laurus nobilis, source of the bay leaf), late 14c., originally only of the berry, from Old French baie (12c.) “berry, seed,” from Latin baca “berry.” Extension to the shrub itself is from 1520s. The leaves or sprigs were woven as wreaths for conquerors or poets. Bayberry first recorded 1570s, after the original sense had shifted.


“to bark or howl (at),” late 14c., from bay (n.3). Related: Bayed; baying.

  1. A body of water partially enclosed by land but having a wide outlet to the sea. A bay is usually smaller than a gulf.
  2. A space in the cabinet of a personal computer where a storage device, such as a disk drive or CD-ROM drive, can be installed.

see at bay.

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