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bay 1

1. A body of water partially enclosed by land but with a wide mouth, affording access to the sea: the Bay of Biscay.
2. An area of land, such as an arm of prairie partially enclosed by woodland, that resembles in shape or formation a partially enclosed body of water.

[Middle English, from Old French baie, perhaps from baer, to open out, gape; see bay2.]

bay 2

1. Architecture A part of a building marked off by vertical elements, such as columns or pilasters: an arcade divided into ten bays.
2. Architecture
a. A bay window.
b. An opening or recess in a wall.
3. A section or compartment, as in a service station, barn, or aircraft, that is set off for a specific purpose: a cargo bay; an engine bay.
4. A sickbay.
5. Computers A drive bay.

[Middle English, from Old French baie, from baer, to open up, gape, from Vulgar Latin *batāre, to yawn, gape, from Late Latin bat, onomatopoeic word imitative of a yawn.]

bay 3

Reddish-brown: a bay colt.
1. A reddish brown.
2. A reddish-brown animal, especially a horse having a black mane and tail.

[Middle English bai, from Old French, from Latin badius, perhaps of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish buide, yellow.]

bay 4

1. A deep, prolonged bark, such as the sound made by hounds.
2. The position of one cornered by pursuers and forced to turn and fight at close quarters: The hunters brought their quarry to bay.
3. The position of having been checked or held at a distance: "He has seen the nuclear threat held at bay for 40 years" (Earl W. Foell).
v. bayed, bay·ing, bays
To utter a deep, prolonged bark.
1. To pursue or challenge with barking: "I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon" (Shakespeare).
2. To express by barking or howling: a mob baying its fury.
3. To bring to bay: "too big for the dogs which tried to bay it" (William Faulkner).

[Middle English, from abai, the cornering of a hunted animal by barking dogs, from Old French, from abaier, to bark; akin to Italian abbaiare and Occitan abaiar, all ultimately of imitative origin. Verb, from Middle English baien, to bark, from abaien, from Old French abaier.]

bay 5

1. See laurel.
2. Any of certain other trees or shrubs with aromatic foliage, such as the California laurel.
3. A crown or wreath made especially of the leaves and branches of the laurel and given as a sign of honor or victory.
4. often bays Honor; renown.

[Middle English, from Old French baie, berry, from Latin bāca.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.