Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.

bat an eye

To display a subtle emotional reaction, such as consternation, annoyance, sadness, joy, etc. Generally used in the negative to denote that the person in question did not display even a hint of an emotional response. Mary didn't even bat an eye when I told her I was moving out. That guy is dangerous. I heard he killed a man without batting an eye.
See also: bat, eye

bat around

1. To push an object around playfully. The cat has been batting around that toy for at least an hour.
2. To strike repeatedly. If I see my neighbor batting around his pets, I will call the police. I was small in high school, so I got batted around a bit, but I eventually learned to stand up for myself.
3. To exchange and contemplate ideas or suggestions. We did bat around other ideas, but that's the slogan we liked the best.
4. To wander aimlessly. I doubt he has a job—he's been batting around out West for a while.
5. In baseball, to reach a team's first batter again in a single inning (because all of the team's batters have already batted in the inning). A: "It's still the top of the third inning?" B: "Yeah, the Cubs have batted around."
See also: around, bat

have bats in the belfry

To be crazy; to act, think, or behave in a foolish or nonsensical manner. Tommy must have bats in the belfry if he thinks he can convince our mother to let him get a tattoo for his birthday. There's an old lady who stands on the corner yelling at strangers all day. I think she might have bats in the belfry.
See also: bats, belfry, have

carry (one's) bat

In cricket, to have not gotten out at the end of one team's completed innings. If our best player can carry his bat, then we have a good chance to win the game.
See also: bat, carry

old bat

A foolish or irritating old person. Ugh, what is that old bat complaining about today?
See also: bat, old

bat out

To produce or create something very hastily. A noun or pronoun can be used between "bat" and "out." A: "I can't believe he batted out three papers in one day." B: "I bet he doesn't get very good grades on them though."
See also: bat, out

have bats in (one's) belfry

To be crazy; to act, think, or behave in a foolish or nonsensical manner. Tommy has bats in his belfry if he thinks he can convince our mother to let him get a tattoo for his birthday. There's an old lady who stands on the corner yelling at strangers all day. I think she might have bats in her belfry.
See also: bats, belfry, have

bat something around

1. Lit. to knock something around with a bat or something similar. Terry spent a little time batting a ball around, then he went home. Let's bat around some balls before we go home.
2. Fig. to discuss something back and forth. Let's bat this around a little bit tomorrow at our meeting. Do you want to bat around this matter a little more?
See also: around, bat

have bats in one's belfry

Inf. Fig. to be crazy. You must really have bats in your belfry if you think I'll put up with that kind of stuff. Pay no attention to her. She has bats in her belfry.
See also: bats, belfry, have

bat around

1. Hit something around, often with a baseball bat or other object, as in We batted the tennis ball around this morning. Originating in baseball, this term came to be applied to more violent action as well, as in Jerry left after being batted around by his father. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
2. Discuss or debate something, as in We batted the various plans around for at least an hour before we came to a decision. This usage transfers batting a ball to a back-and-forth exchange of ideas. [Slang; late 1800s]
3. Drift aimlessly, roam, as in After graduating, they batted around Europe for a year. [Slang; c. 1900]
See also: around, bat

bats in one's belfry, have

Be crazy or at least very eccentric, as in Sally thought her aunt's belief in ghosts indicated she had bats in her belfry. This term in effect likens the bat's seemingly erratic flight in the dark to ideas flying around in a person's head. [Early 1900s]
See also: bats, have

have bats in the belfry


have bats in your belfry

If someone has bats in the belfry they are crazy. Don't say that to anyone else or they'll think you've got bats in the belfry! Note: The belfry is the top part of a church tower where the bells are kept, and bats resting there would fly about wildly when disturbed by the bells being rung. In this expression, the belfry represents the person's head.
See also: bats, belfry, have

have bats in the (or your) belfry

be eccentric or crazy. informal
This expression refers to the way in which bats in an enclosed space fly about wildly if they are disturbed.
c. 1901 G. W. Peck Peck's Red-Headed Boy They all thought a crazy man with bats in his belfry had got loose.
See also: bats, belfry, have

have ˌbats in the ˈbelfry

(old-fashioned, informal) be crazy or eccentric
See also: bats, belfry, have

bat around

1. To knock something around with or as if with a bat, hand, or similar object: We batted around some baseballs at the park. The cat batted the squeaky toy around the entire afternoon.
2. To discuss something back and forth in order to come to a decision: They batted around ideas all night before they made up their minds. We batted a few names around when thinking about nominees.
See also: around, bat

bat out

To produce something in a hurried or informal manner: The new store owner batted out thank-you notes to his first customers all morning. I don't have time before the big party to bake hundreds of cookies, but I think I can bat a few dozen out.
See also: bat, out


1. and batty mod. crazy. You are driving me batty! You are bats if you think I would ever wear a haircut like that.
2. and batty mod. alcohol intoxicated; confused and drunk. The guy was bats—stewed to his ears. He was a bit batty, but he’d been drinking since noon, so no one was surprised.
3. and the bats n. the delirium tremens. (Always with the.) My buddy is shaking because of a slight case of the bats.

the bats

See bats
See also: bats

have bats in one’s belfry

tv. to be crazy. (see also bats. Have got can replace have.) Pay no attention to her. She has bats in her belfry.
See also: bats, belfry, have

have bats in (one's) belfry

To behave in an eccentric, bizarre manner.
See also: bats, belfry, have

bats in one's belfry, to have

To be slightly crazy or quite eccentric. The term alludes to the bat’s seemingly erratic flight in the dark, which is transferred to thoughts flying about in the head. In reality, the bat has a sophisticated sonar system whose nature came to light only recently. In flight it keeps up a constant twittering noise that bounces back from solid objects in its path. This echo enables the animal to avoid actually bumping into obstacles. Nevertheless, bats have long been associated with craziness. See also blind as a bat.
See also: bats, have
References in periodicals archive ?
There is a decline in bats globally, as they are nowadays often disturbed in their caves by people whose activities encroach on their habitats.
Tallahassee, FL - August 6, 2019 - To protect Tallahassee homes and local bat species, the wildlife removal experts at Critter Control(c) of Tallahassee warn residents to comply with regulations during bat maternity season.
Wildlife rabies cases, primarily in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, have been identified in the U.S., and these result in human and animal exposures requiring thousands of human rabies post-exposure treatments and animal euthanasia or quarantines.
While eastern small-footed bats and northern long-eared baLs (Myotis septentrionalis) have been observed roosting in bridge barrier devices, this behavior has not been documented for gray bats (MacGregor and Riser, 1998: Thomson, 2013).
Roeut Savorn, a member of the recently established community, said there were approximately five to six million bats living in six bat caves in Banan district in 1999.
The fruit bats have become one of the top tourist attractions on the island, which is only about 10 minutes by boat from Davao City.
'The key is to help people understand and appreciate the value of bats,' Bayless said.
Throughout the book, Laidlaw has included the profiles of 10 'Bat Citizens'--young people participating in citizen science to help protect bat populations.
34 Payton Lobdell * Bats R/Throws R * Huntington Beach, Calif.
Cornelison's team later captured and treated bats from caves in Kentucky and Missouri.
Given the low levels of bat activity at the site on this particular night (these were the only 2 bats captured) and the spatial and temporal proximity between the net in which the Hoary Bat was captured and our initial observation of the interaction, we strongly suspect that the captured bats were the 2 interacting individuals and that the injuries observed on each bat were a result of the observed interaction.
Achieving GFAS Accreditation means Bat World Sanctuary meets the comprehensive and rigorous definition of a true sanctuary and as such provides humane and responsible care for bats and meets the rigorous standards for operations, administration, and veterinary care established by GFAS.
Most people assume that all bats are nasty little bats.
The net result of this decline is that all British bats and their roosts are now protected by law.
That tree was inhabited by small insect-eating free-tailed bats of a species (Mops condylurus) that previous research has suggested may harbor Ebola, Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and colleagues report in the January EMBO Molecular Medicine.