bay


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flourish like a green bay tree

To thrive; to grow very successfully. The green bay tree is known to grow several new branches every year. Wow, you have just been flourishing like a green bay tree ever since you changed majors.
See also: bay, flourish, green, like, tree

at bay

At a safe distance; held back by some action. That preventative course of antibiotics really kept the illness at bay—I was hardly sick at all! We have a security system to keep burglars at bay.
See also: bay

bay at

To howl at. A: "What's that noise?" B: "Just some coyotes baying at the moon."
See also: bay

bay for blood

To seek punishment for a person or group. My co-workers have been baying for blood ever since they found out that I lied about my credentials on my resume.
See also: bay, blood

be baying for blood

To be seeking punishment for a person or group. My co-workers have been baying for blood ever since they found out that I lied about my credentials on my resume.
See also: bay, blood

keep (someone or something) at bay

To keep something at a distance from oneself, especially that which is harmful or unpleasant; to control something in order to keep it from doing harm to oneself. During my college years, the only things I had to keep hunger at bay were beans, rice, and plain pasta. You have to start meeting your minimum monthly repayments if you want to keep your creditors at bay.
See also: bay, keep

*at bay

Fig. at a distance. (*Typically: be ~; keep someone or something ~; remain ~.) I have to keep the bill collectors at bay until I get my paycheck. The mosquitoes will not remain at bay for very long.
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bay at something

to howl at something. (Usually said of a dog, wolf, or coyote.) The dogs were baying at the moon. We heard a coyote in the distance, baying at the moon.
See also: bay

hold someone or something at bay

Fig. to make someone, a group, or an animal stay at a safe distance. (Originally referred only to animals.) I held the attacker at bay while Mary got away and called the police. The dogs held the bear at bay while I got my gun loaded.
See also: bay, hold

at bay

Cornered, in distress, as in Angry bystanders chased the thief into an alley and held him at bay until the police arrived . This idiom originally came from hunting, where it describes an animal that has been driven back and now faces pursuing hounds. Its use for other situations dates from the late 1500s.
See also: bay

keep something/someone at bay

or

hold something/someone at bay

COMMON If you keep something or someone at bay or hold them at bay, you stop them from attacking you or harming you. By salting the meat, bacteria were kept at bay, preserving the meat for future use. Tooth decay can be held at bay by fluoride toothpaste and good dentistry. A dozen American soldiers held the crowd at bay until the helicopter lifted off. Note: When a hunted animal is at bay, it is trapped by the hounds (= hunting dogs) and forced to turn and face them to defend itself. However, if the animal is successfully defending itself in this position, you can say that it is holding the hounds at bay. This second use seems the most likely origin of the expression.
See also: bay, keep, something

be baying for someone's blood

or

be baying for blood

BRITISH
If people are baying for someone's blood or baying for blood, they want someone to be punished or hurt. Eight thousand supporters were baying for the manager's blood after a 5-0 loss to Grimsby. The travel company had just buried itself with debts of more than £12m and thousands of disappointed holidaymakers were baying for blood. Note: This expression compares the people's demands to the sounds that dogs make on a hunt.
See also: bay, blood

bay at the moon

or

howl at the moon

LITERARY
If you bay at the moon or howl at the moon, you waste your time and energy trying to do something which is impossible or trying to get something which you cannot have. You're looking for the perfect man and he doesn't exist. You're baying at the moon.
See also: bay, moon

bay window

n. a belly; an abdomen. You are going to have to do something about that bay window.
See also: bay, window

at bay

To keep someone or something at a safe distance. The phrase derives from stag hunting, from a French word that also is the source of the English word for the baying howl that hounds make during a chance. A tired and cornered stag that turns to face the pursuing hounds is, for the moment, at a safe distance from its attackers.
See also: bay
References in classic literature ?
As we slowly advanced up the bay, numerous canoes pushed off from the surrounding shores, and we were soon in the midst of quite a flotilla of them, their savage occupants struggling to get aboard of us, and jostling one another in their ineffectual attempts.
We had approached within a mile and a half perhaps of this foot of the bay, when some of the islanders, who by this time had managed to scramble aboard of us at the risk of swamping their canoes, directed our attention to a singular commotion in the water ahead of the vessel.
Look you, Mistress Pitty—Patty Prettybones, mayhap I’m some such matter as a bear, as they will find who come to grapple with me; but dam’me if I’m a monkey— a thing that chatters without knowing a word of what it says—a parrot; that will hold a dialogue, for what an honest man knows, in a dozen languages; mayhap in the Bay of State lingo; mayhap in Greek or High Dutch.
While waiting for slack water, in which to lift their heavy nets from the bed of the bay, the Chinese had all gone to sleep below.
In addition to the sails they had gotten out long sweeps, and the bay was being ploughed in every direction by the fleeing junks.
To-morrow I would be an oyster pirate, as free a freebooter as the century and the waters of San Francisco Bay would permit.
Up the bay and into the River Tamar we motored through a solitude as unbroken as that which rested upon the waters of the Channel.
What was there here in Plymouth Bay to prevent an enemy landing in force and marching where they wished?
These latter circumstances were observed in the Bay of Valparaiso during the earthquake of 1822; they may, I think, be accounted for, by the disturbance of the mud at the bottom of the sea containing organic matter in decay.
There can be no doubt that the land round the Bay of Concepcion was upraised two or three feet; but it deserves notice, that owing to the wave having obliterated the old lines of tidal action on the sloping sandy shores, I could discover no evidence of this fact, except in the united testimony of the inhabitants, that one little rocky shoal, now exposed, was formerly covered with water.
But the creek, or strait, that cut off the isle from the main-land of the Ross, opened out on the north into a bay, and the bay again opened into the Sound of Iona; and it was the neighbourhood of this place that I chose to be my home; though if I had thought upon the very name of home in such a spot, I must have burst out weeping.
Now, from a little up the hillside over the bay, I could catch a sight of the great, ancient church and the roofs of the people's houses in Iona.
From the deck of our schooner, anchored in the middle of the bay, he indicated by a theatrical sweep of his arm along the jagged outline of the hills the whole of his domain; and the ample movement seemed to drive back its limits, augmenting it suddenly into something so immense and vague that for a moment it appeared to be bounded only by the sky.
I told him I was on the Maryland side of the bay, at the plantation of a particular friend who came from England in the same ship with me; that as for that side of the bay where he was, I had no habitation.
This river lies on the north side of the great bay or gulf which goes up to Siam.