Definition of bay noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    bay

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//beɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//beɪ//
     
    Herbs and spices
     
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  1. 1  [countable] a part of the sea, or of a large lake, partly surrounded by a wide curve of the land the Bay of Bengal Hudson Bay a magnificent view across the bay apartments overlooking the bay holiday flats overlooking the bay
  2. 2[countable] a marked section of ground either inside or outside a building, for example for a vehicle to park in, for storing things, etc. a parking/loading bay Put the equipment in No 3 bay. see also sickbay
  3. 3[countable] a curved area of a room or building that sticks out from the rest of the building
  4. 4[countable] a horse of a dark brown colour He was riding a big bay.
  5. 5[countable] a deep noise, especially the noise made by dogs when hunting
  6. 6 (also sweet bay) [countable] = bay tree
  7. 7 [uncountable] a herb used to give flavour to food, made of the leaves of the bay tree See related entries: Herbs and spices
  8. Word Originnoun sense 1 late Middle English: from Old French baie, from Old Spanish bahia, of unknown origin. noun senses 2 to 3 late Middle English: from Old French baie, from baer ‘to gape’, from medieval Latin batare, of unknown origin. noun sense 4 Middle English: from Old French bai, from Latin badius.Idioms when an animal that is being hunted is at bay, it must turn and face the dogs and hunters because it is impossible to escape from them
    hold/keep somebody/something at bay
     
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    to prevent an enemy from coming close or a problem from having a bad effect synonym ward off I'm trying to keep my creditors at bay. Charlotte bit her lip to hold the tears at bay.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bay