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(1)   The legal system that allows an accused person to be temporarily released from custody (usually on condition that a sum of money guarantees their appearance at trial)
"He is out on bail"
(2)   (criminal law) money that must be forfeited by the bondsman if an accused person fails to appear in court for trial
"The judge set bail at $10,000"
"A $10,000 bond was furnished by an alderman"


(3)   Remove (water) from a vessel with a container
(4)   Empty (a vessel) by bailing
(5)   Secure the release of (someone) by providing security
(6)   Deliver something in trust to somebody for a special purpose and for a limited period
(7)   Release after a security has been paid

Etymology 1

From the verb and noun , from .


  1. Security, usually a sum of money, exchanged for the release of an arrested person as a guarantee of that person's appearance for trial.
  2. Release from imprisonment on payment of such money.
  3. The person providing such payment.
  4. One of the two wooden crosspieces that rest on top of the stumps to form a wicket.
  5. A bucket or scoop used for removing water from a boat etc.
  6. Normally curved handle suspended between sockets as a drawer pull.


  1. To secure the release of an arrested person by providing bail.
  2. To release a person under such guarantee.
  3. To set free.
  4. To hand over personal property to be held temporarily by another as a bailment.
  5. To remove water from a boat by scooping it out.


  1. To exit quickly.
    With his engine in flames, the pilot had no choice but to bail out.
  2. : To not attend.
    I'm going to bail on this afternoon's meeting.

Etymology 3

From beyl and beygla, a bend, ring or hoop.


  1. A hoop, ring or handle (especially of a kettle or bucket)
  2. A stall for a cow (or other animal) (usually tethered with a semi-circular hoop).
  3. A hinged bar as a restraint for animals, or on a typewriter.
  4. A frame to restrain a cow during outdoor milking.

Usage notes

Some of these senses, especially the hinged bar, are also claimed via Etymology 1