bay

bay
\ \ There are no fewer than six distinct words bay in English. The ‘sea inlet’ [14] comes via Old French baie from Old Spanish bahia. Bay as in bay leaf [14] comes from a different Old French word baie, whose source was Latin bācaberry’. The ‘reddish-brown colour of a horse’ [14] comes via Old French bai from Latin badius, which is related to Old Irish buideyellow’. The ‘recessed area or compartment’ [14] comes from yet another Old French baie, a derivative of the verb bayergape, yawn’, from medieval Latin batāre (English acquired abash and abeyance from the same source, and it may also be represented in the first syllable of beagle). Baybark’ [14] comes from Old French abaiier, in which the element -bai- probably originated as an imitation of a dog howling. And it is the source of bay as in at bay [13] (from Old French abai), the underlying idea of which is that of a hunted animal finally turning and facing its barking pursuers.
\ \ Cf.ABASH, ABEYANCE, BEAGLE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Bay — Bay, n. [F. baie, fr. LL. baia. Of uncertain origin: cf. Ir. & Gael. badh or bagh bay, harbor, creek; Bisc. baia, baiya, harbor, and F. bayer to gape, open the mouth.] 1. (Geog.) An inlet of the sea, usually smaller than a gulf, but of the same… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bay — Bay, n. [See {Bay}, v. i.] 1. Deep toned, prolonged barking. The bay of curs. Cowper. [1913 Webster] 2. [OE. bay, abay, OF. abai, F. aboi barking, pl. abois, prop. the extremity to which the stag is reduced when surrounded by the dogs, barking… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Bay — Bay, n. [F. baie a berry, the fruit of the laurel and other trees, fr. L. baca, bacca, a small round fruit, a berry, akin to Lith. bapka laurel berry.] 1. A berry, particularly of the laurel. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. The laurel tree ({Laurus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bay — (b[=a]), a. [F. bai, fr. L. badius brown, chestnut colored; used only of horses.] Reddish brown; of the color of a chestnut; applied to the color of horses. [1913 Webster] {Bay cat} (Zo[ o]l.), a wild cat of Africa and the East Indies ({Felis… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bay — Bay, v. t. To bark at; hence, to follow with barking; to bring or drive to bay; as, to bay the bear. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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