Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical, deep water inside a shoal or bar.
  • An epithet of uncertain meaning, in the following passage: the apparent etymology suggests ‘round,’ ‘pot-bellied.’
  • noun A word used only by Shakspere in the passage cited, in the folio of 1623, where the quarto editions have battero and bat; it is, like battero, apparently a misprint for batton, battoon, or battoun, a stick, cudgel. See batton, batoon, baton, and bat.

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

  • noun obsolete A cudgel.

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

  • noun nautical Deep water inside a shoal or bar.
  • noun obsolete A cudgel.
  • adjective obsolete Round; pot-bellied.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English balowe, balwe, balgh, from Old English bælg, bæliġ ("bag, purse, leathern bottle, pair of bellows, pod, husk"), from Proto-Germanic *balgiz (“bag”), from Proto-Indo-European *bholǵʰ- (“leathern bag, pillow, mattress, paunch”). More at belly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin obscure.

Examples

  • Nay, come not near th’ old man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder.

    Act IV. Scene VI. King Lear

  • It is far from certain that the outpouring of sympathy for the Kaczynski family - seen in the huge numbers that turned out in Warsaw to see the fallen leader's hearse travel to the presidential palace - would translate into ballow box support.

    Ventura County Star Stories

  • Nay, come not near th 'old man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder: ch'ill be plain with you.

    King Lear

  • We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballow in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace.

    Texas Rainmaker

  • Nay, come not near th’ old man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder: ch’ill be plain with you.

    King Lear

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