bail(redirected from bails)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
bail (one) out of jail
To pay for one's release from jail. I have to go bail my brother out of jail again. I wonder what he did this time.
bail on (one)
To leave or abandon one. Hey, thanks for bailing on me earlier—I was stuck talking to that guy for half an hour! Come on, I highly doubt that Angela would bail on you after one fight.
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.
bail out on (one)
To leave or abandon one. Hey, thanks for bailing out on me earlier—I was stuck talking to that guy for half an hour! Come on, I highly doubt that Angela would bail out on you after one fight.
1. To hold a cow within an enclosure of a stable (called a bail or bale) for the purposes of milking; or, of a cow, to be held in a bail for such a purpose. Primarily heard in Australia. Go bail up those cows before you have your breakfast. Make sure them cows are bailed up, we don't want them getting loose!
2. To detain someone for the purposes of a robbery. Primarily heard in Australia. I was bailed up last night on my way home and the guy took my wallet. Bail up these two while I check out the rest of the house.
3. To detain someone, as during an unsolicited conversation. Primarily heard in Australia. I would have been home 40 minutes ago, but I was bailed up by John talking some nonsense about the government again.
give leg bail
To flee; to run away from something. The officer tried to arrest me, but I gave leg bail and sprinted toward my house.
To intentionally not appear in court after having been released on bail, which is a security paid to allow one to avoid imprisonment until one appears in court. Failing to appear results in the forfeit of one's bail. The worst thing you could do is jump bail—then you'll be a fugitive and everyone will think you're guilty.
To have enough money to pay as a security that allows one to be released from prison until one appears in court before their trial. Thankfully I was able to make bail, because having to spend three months in jail just to try and prove I'm innocent would be horrible.
out on bail
No longer being held in prison while awaiting trial after having paid an amount of money determined by a judge. The former CEO was caught trying to flee the country while out on bail. She was out on bail, so at least she could spend the time before the trial with he children.
To intentionally not appear in court after having been released on bail, which is a security paid to allow one to avoid imprisonment until one appears in court. Failing to appear results in the forfeit of one's bail. The worst thing you could do is skip bail—then you'll be a fugitive and everyone will think you're guilty.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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 someone out of jailand bail someone out
1. Lit. to deposit a sum of money that allows someone to get out of jail while waiting for a trial. John was in jail. I had to go down to the police station to bail him out. I need some cash to bail out a friend!
2. Fig. to help someone who is having difficulties. When my brother went broke, I had to bail him out with a loan.
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.
jump bailand skip bail
Fig. to fail to appear in court for trial and forfeit one's bail bond. Not only was Bob arrested for theft, he skipped bail and left town. He's in a lot of trouble. The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the man who jumped bail.
out on bail
out of jail after a court appearance and pending trial because bail bond money has been paid. (The money will be forfeited if the person who is out on bail does not appear for trial at the proper time.) Bob got out on bail waiting for his trial. The robber committed another crime while out on bail.
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.
Put up security as an assurance that someone released from prison will appear for trial, as in He didn't think he could make bail for his brother. The use of bail for "security" was first recorded in 1495.
out on bail
Released from custody on the basis of bail being posted, as in The lawyer promised to get him out on bail. This expression alludes to a payment made to the court as surety that the accused will appear for trial.
Also, jump bail. Fail to appear in court for trial and thereby give up the bail bond (paid to secure one's appearance). For example, I can't afford to skip bail-I'd lose half a million, or We were sure he'd jump bail but he finally showed up. This idiom uses skip and jump in the sense of "evade". The first dates from about 1900, the variant from the mid-1800s. Also 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.
If someone who is accused of a crime jumps bail or skips bail, they fail to appear in court when they should. He jumped bail and fled America the day before he was due to stand trial for murder. He was sentenced to an additional three months for skipping bail and going on the run for nine months. Note: `Bail' is money paid to an official in exchange for freedom until a court appearance.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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.
bail on someone
in. to walk out on someone; to leave someone. She bailed on me after all we had been through together.
in. to resign or leave; to get free of someone or something. Albert bailed just before he got fired.
See bail out
bail out on someone
in. to depart and leave someone behind; to abandon someone. Bob bailed out on me and left me to take all the blame.
tv. to fail to show up in court and forfeit bail. Lefty jumped bail, and now he’s a fugitive.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
To secure enough money or property to pay the amount of one's bail.
To fail to appear in court after having been released on bail.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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