Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Evil.
  • noun Mental suffering; anguish.
  • noun A large bundle of raw or finished material tightly bound with cord or wire and often wrapped.
  • transitive verb To wrap in a bale or in bales.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Evil; woe; calamity; misery; that which causes ruin, destruction, or sorrow.
  • To make up into a bale or bales.
  • noun A large bundle or package of merchandise prepared for transportation, either in a cloth cover, corded or banded, or without cover, but compressed and secured by transverse bands, wires, or withes and longitudinal slats.
  • noun A pair or set of dice.
  • See bail, bail, bail, bail.
  • noun A large fire built out of doors and burning freely; a bonfire. specifically—

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Misery; calamity; misfortune; sorrow.
  • noun Now chiefly poetic Evil; an evil, pernicious influence; something causing great injury.
  • transitive verb See bail, v. t., to lade.
  • transitive verb To make up in a bale.
  • noun A bundle or package of goods in a cloth cover, and corded for storage or transportation; also, a bundle of straw, hay, etc., put up compactly for transportation.
  • noun [Obs.] a pair of dice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Evil, especially considered as an active force for destruction or death.
  • noun Suffering, woe, torment.
  • verb UK, nautical To remove water from a boat with buckets etc.
  • noun obsolete A large fire, a conflagration or bonfire.
  • noun archaic A funeral pyre.
  • noun archaic A beacon-fire.
  • noun A rounded bundle or package of goods in a cloth cover, and corded for storage or transportation.
  • noun A bundle of compressed wool or hay, compacted for shipping and handling.
  • noun A measurement of hay equal to 10 flakes. Approximately 70-90 lbs (32-41 kg).
  • noun A measurement of paper equal to 10 reams.
  • verb transitive To wrap into a bale.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a city in northwestern Switzerland
  • noun a large bundle bound for storage or transport
  • verb make into a bale

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English bealu.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English bealo, from Proto-Germanic *balwô. Cognate with Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌻𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 (balweins, "torture"), Old High German balo ("destruction"), Old Norse bǫl ("disaster").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Alternative spelling of bail

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English bǣl, from Proto-Germanic *bēlō, from Proto-Indo-European. Cognate with Old Norse bál (which may have been the direct source for the English word).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Precise derivation uncertain: perhaps from Old French bale, balle, from Medieval Latin balla ("ball, rounded package"), from Germanic; or perhaps from Dutch baal, itself borrowed from French.

Examples

Comments

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  • Along with the common meaning indicated by Wordnet ("a bale of hay"), this word has an interesting etymological distinct archaic meaning, "destructive evil", which gives us the word baleful, "menacing; having a harmful effect".

    January 16, 2009