right off the bat

right off the bat


  1. Sports.
    1. the wooden club used in certain games, as baseball and cricket, to strike the ball.
    2. a racket, especially one used in badminton or table tennis.
    3. a whip used by a jockey.
    4. the act of using a club or racket in a game.
    5. the right or turn to use a club or racket.
  2. a heavy stick, club, or cudgel.
  3. Informal. a blow, as with a bat.
  4. any fragment of brick or hardened clay.
  5. Masonry. a brick cut transversely so as to leave one end whole.
  6. British Slang. speed; rate of motion or progress, especially the pace of the stroke or step of a race.
  7. Slang. a spree; binge: to go on a bat.
  8. Ceramics.
    1. a sheet of gelatin or glue used in bat printing.
    2. a slab of moist clay.
    3. a ledge or shelf in a kiln.
    4. a slab of plaster for holding a piece being modeled or for absorbing excess water from slip.
  9. batt.

verb (used with object), bat·ted, bat·ting.

  1. to strike or hit with or as if with a bat or club.
  2. Baseball. to have a batting average of; hit: He batted .325 in spring training.

verb (used without object), bat·ted, bat·ting.

  1. Sports.
    1. to strike at the ball with the bat.
    2. to take one’s turn as a batter.
  2. Slang. to rush.

Verb Phrases

  1. bat around,
    1. Slang.to roam; drift.
    2. Informal.to discuss or ponder; debate: We batted the idea around.
    3. Baseball.to have every player in the lineup take a turn at bat during a single inning.
  2. bat in, Baseball. to cause (a run) to be scored by getting a hit: He batted in two runs with a double to left.
  3. bat out, to do, write, produce, etc., hurriedly: I have to bat out a term paper before class.
  1. at bat, Baseball.
    1. taking one’s turn to bat in a game: at bat with two men in scoring position.
    2. an instance at bat officially charged to a batter except when the batter is hit by a pitch, receives a base on balls, is interfered with by the catcher, or makes a sacrifice hit or sacrifice fly: two hits in three at bats.
  2. bat the breeze. breeze1(def 11).
  3. go to bat for, Informal. to intercede for; vouch for; defend: to go to bat for a friend.
  4. right off the bat, Informal. at once; without delay: They asked me to sing right off the bat.


  1. any of various types of club with a handle, used to hit the ball in certain sports, such as cricket, baseball, or table tennis
  2. a flat round club with a short handle, resembling a table-tennis bat, used by a man on the ground to guide the pilot of an aircraft when taxiing
  3. cricket short for batsman
  4. any stout stick, esp a wooden one
  5. informal a blow from such a stick
  6. Australian a small board used for tossing the coins in the game of two-up
  7. US and Canadian slang a drinking spree; binge
  8. slang speed; rate; pacethey went at a fair bat
  9. another word for batting (def. 1)
  10. carry one’s bat cricket (of an opening batsman) to reach the end of an innings without being dismissed
  11. off one’s own bat
    1. of one’s own accord; without being prompted by someone else
    2. by one’s own unaided efforts
  12. off the bat or right off the bat US and Canadian informal immediately; without hesitation

verb bats, batting or batted

  1. (tr) to strike with or as if with a bat
  2. (intr) sport (of a player or a team) to take a turn at batting


  1. any placental mammal of the order Chiroptera, being a nocturnal mouselike animal flying with a pair of membranous wings (patagia). The group is divided into the Megachiroptera (fruit bats) and Microchiroptera (insectivorous bats)Related adjective: chiropteran
  2. slang an irritating or eccentric woman (esp in the phrase old bat)
  3. blind as a bat having extremely poor eyesight
  4. have bats in the belfry or have bats in one’s belfry informal to be mad or eccentric; have strange ideas
  5. like a bat out of hell slang very quickly

verb bats, batting or batted (tr)

  1. to wink or flutter (one’s eyelids)
  2. not bat an eye or not bat an eyelid informal to show no surprise or concern

“to hit with a bat,” mid-15c., from bat (n.1). Related: Batted; batting.


“a stick, a club,” Old English *batt “cudgel,” perhaps from Celtic (cf. Irish and Gaelic bat, bata “staff, cudgel”), influenced by Old French batte, from Late Latin battre “beat;” all from PIE root *bhat- “to strike.” Also “a lump, piece” (mid-14c.), as in brickbat. As a kind of paddle used to play cricket, it is attested from 1706.

Phrase right off the bat is 1888, also hot from the bat (1888), probably a baseball metaphor, but cricket is possible as a source; there is an early citation from Australia (in an article about slang): “Well, it is a vice you’d better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again, and I’ll give it to him right off the bat. I’ll wipe up the floor with him. I’ll —” [“The Australian Journal,” November 1888].


flying mammal (order Chiroptera), 1570s, a dialectal alteration of Middle English bakke (early 14c.), which is probably related to Old Swedish natbakka, Old Danish nathbakkæ “night bat,” and Old Norse leðrblaka “leather flapper,” so original sense is likely “flapper.” The shift from -k- to -t- may have come through confusion of bakke with Latin blatta “moth, nocturnal insect.”

Old English word for the animal was hreremus, from hreran “to shake” (see rare (adj.2)), and rattle-mouse is attested from late 16c., an old dialectal word for “bat.” As a contemptuous term for an old woman, perhaps a suggestion of witchcraft (cf. fly-by-night), or from bat as “prostitute who plies her trade by night” [Farmer, who calls it “old slang” and finds French equivalent “night swallow” (hirondelle de nuit) “more poetic”].


“to move the eyelids,” 1847, American English, from earlier sense of “flutter as a hawk” (1610s), a variant of bate (v.2) on the notion of fluttering wings. Related: Batted; batting.

Instantly, immediately, as in I can’t tell you how many right off the bat, but I can find out. This term alludes to a baseball being hit by a bat. [First half of 1900s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with bat

  • bat an eye
  • bat around
  • bat one thousand
  • bats in one’s belfry, have
  • bat the breeze

also see:

  • at bat
  • blind as a bat
  • bats in one’s belfry
  • go to bat for
  • like a bat out of hell

right off the bat.

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