bail out, to
1. To pay for someone's release from jail. A person's name or a pronoun can be used between "bail" and "out." I have to go bail out my brother—the police picked him up again, and he's down at the precinct. Bailing my son out from jail was the low point of the year.
2. By extension, to get someone out of trouble or help them with a problem. A person's name or a pronoun can be used between "bail" and "out." I thought I would get in trouble for staying out too late, but luckily my sister bailed me out and told my mom I'd had car trouble. You can keep getting into these jams, dude. This is the last time I bail you out!
3. To remove water from an unwanted place, typically by using a bucket. Although most commonly associated with emptying water from a boat, this phrase can be used in any situation where water has accumulated and must be removed. After all that rain, my dad and I have been bailing out our basement all day. We'll sink if we don't bail out the boat now!
4. To leave or abandon something. We had been working on this project for months, and then John just bailed out on us.
5. To jump from an airplane with a parachute. How high does the plane go before we bail out? I bailed out at the last second, just before the plane crashed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
bail someone or something out
Fig. to rescue someone or something from trouble or difficulty. (Based on bail someone out of jail.) The proposed law was in trouble, but Senator Todd bailed out the bill at the last minute. I was going to be late with my report, but my roommate lent a hand and bailed me out at the last minute.
bail something out
1. to remove water from the bottom of a boat by dipping or scooping. Tom has to bail the boat out before we get in. You should always bail out a boat before using it.
2. to empty a boat of accumulated water. Would you bail this boat out? I will bail out the boat.
bail out(of something)
1. Lit. to jump out of an airplane with a parachute. John still remembers the first time he bailed out of a plane. When we get to 8,000 feet, we'll all bail out and drift down together. We'll open our parachutes at 2,000 feet.
2. Fig. to abandon a situation; to get out of something. John got tired of school, so he just bailed out. Please stay, Bill. You've been with us too long to bail out now.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Empty water out of a boat, usually by dipping with a bucket or other container. For example, We had to keep bailing out water from this leaky canoe. [Early 1600s]
2. Rescue someone in an emergency, especially a financial crisis of some kind, as in They were counting on an inheritance to bail them out. [Colloquial; 1900s]
3. Jump out of an airplane, using a parachute. For example, When the second engine sputtered, the pilot decided to bail out. [c. 1930]
4. Give up on something, abandon a responsibility, as in The company was not doing well, so John decided to bail out while he could still find another job . [Second half of 1900s]
5. See make bail.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To jump out of a plane, especially one that is going to crash: I grabbed my parachute and bailed out at the last possible minute.
2. To stop doing or taking part in something because of difficulties or unpleasantness: The actor bailed out on the play after a fight with the director. Our investors bailed out when it looked like the project might not be profitable.
3. To free someone who has been arrested and would otherwise remain in jail until the trial by providing an amount of money: I had to spend the weekend in jail because I had nobody to bail me out. Do you know who bailed out the accused thief last night?
4. To rescue someone or something from a difficult situation, especially by providing financial assistance; extricate: Just when we thought we might have to close the business, my uncle bailed us out with a loan. The government tried to bail out the struggling airline industry.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
in. to resign or leave; to get free of someone or something. Albert bailed just before he got fired.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
bail out, to
To leave, to withdraw. Originally meaning to empty water from a boat using a can or other container, a usage from the early 1600s. Three centuries later, it was transferred to parachuting out of an airplane. Two colloquial senses appeared in the 1900s, both of which can be considered clichés. The first, to bail someone out, means to rescue someone or something, especially from a financial problem. Thus “The opera company was looking for a wealthy donor to bail them out.” The second means to leave or abandon something, as in “No point in waiting any longer to see the doctor, so I’m bailing out now.” And appearing as the noun bailout, the term has been used particularly often with regard to corporations and countries in financial difficulties, as in “In September 2008, as stock markets plunged and credit markets around the globe seized up, Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke came up with a proposal for a sweeping $700 billion bailout of the nation’s financial institutions” (New York Times, July 1, 2010).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer