American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. Nautical To secure or make fast (a rope, for example) by winding on a cleat or pin.
- v. To secure (a mountain climber, for example) at the end of a length of rope.
- v. To cause to stop.
- v. To be made secure.
- v. Used in the imperative as an order to stop: Belay there!
- n. The securing of a rope on a rock or other projection during mountain climbing.
- n. An object, such as a rock, to which a mountain climber's rope can be secured.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To surround; environ; inclose.
- To overlay; adorn.
- To besiege; invest; surround.
- To lie in wait for in order to attack; hence, to block up or obstruct.
- Nautical, to fasten, or make fast, by winding round a belaying-pin, cleat, or cavel: applied chiefly to running rigging.
- v. transitive, obsolete To surround; environ; inclose.
- v. transitive, obsolete To overlay; adorn.
- v. transitive, obsolete To besiege; invest; surround.
- v. transitive, obsolete To lie in wait for in order to attack; block up or obstruct.
- v. transitive To make (a rope) fast by turning it round a fastening point such as a cleat or piton.
- v. transitive To secure (a person) to a rope or (a rope) to a person.
- v. transitive To lay aside; stop; cancel.
- v. intransitive, nautical The general command to stop or cease.
- v. intransitive, nautical To make a line fast by turns around a cleat, pin, or bitt.
- n. climbing The securing of a rope to a rock or other projection.
- n. climbing The object to which a rope is secured.
- n. climbing A location at which a climber stops and builds an anchor with which to secure his/or her partner.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. obsolete To lay on or cover; to adorn.
- v. (Naut.) To make fast, as a rope, by taking several turns with it round a pin, cleat, or kevel.
- v. obsolete To lie in wait for with a view to assault. Hence: to block up or obstruct.
- v. fasten a boat to a bitt, pin, or cleat
- n. something to which a mountain climber's rope can be secured
- v. turn a rope round an object or person in order to secure it or him
- From Middle English beleggen, bileggen, from Old English belecgan ("to cover, invest, surround, afflict, attribute to, charge with, accuse"), equivalent to be- + lay. Cognate with Dutch beleggen ("to cover, overlay, belay"), German belegen ("to cover, occupy, belay"), Swedish belägga ("to pave"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English bileggen, to surround, from Old English belecgan; see legh- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Yet quite often such words, when they are verbs, were once of the common stock of the language, as in the case of "belay," and it has happened that the sailor alone has been left to keep them alive.”
“In comes the rope with a "Yo! heave ho!" and a jerk, until the "belay" sung out by the mate signifies that the work is done.”
“Care was taken, however, this time to make fast the halliard rope with a proper "belay"; and although Snowball might have deserved a caution to be more vigilant for the future, it was not deemed necessary to administer it, as it was thought the peril out of which they had so miraculously escaped would prove to him a sufficient reminder.”
“We didn't get to use words like "belay" or "glissade" but we felt victorious just the same.”
“It was a hot mid-August afternoon two weeks into the trip and one of my three NOLS instructors, Bean Bowers -- bad-ass, wise-cracking and always over-caffeinated -- chose me to belay him while he climbed.”
“I refused, humiliated and ashamed that I even had the chutzpah to belay Bean, let alone allow him to fall on my watch.”
“But just to be on the safe side and belay any possible future arguments I have recently purchased a mobile home in a trailer park.”
“And there is the less obvious answer in that analogy of a belay team.”
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Lingo that immediately classifies you as a climbing insider
I'm wading through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels one by one, and someday, I'll wade through them again and list all the words I learned while reading them.
Edit: I started ma...
Tubey or not tubey.
Words I've come across while reading and looked up in the dictionary.
Looking for tweets for belay.