bat1 / bat/ • n. an implement with a handle and a solid surface, usually of wood, used for hitting the ball in games such as baseball, cricket, and table tennis.• v. (bat·ted, bat·ting) 1. [intr.] (of a team or a player in sports such as baseball) take in turns the role of hitting rather than fielding: Ruth came to bat in the fifth inning.2. [tr.] hit at (someone or something) with the palm of one's hand: he batted the flies away.PHRASES: right off the bat at the very beginning.PHRASAL VERBS: bat something around inf. discuss an idea or proposal casually or idly.go to bat for inf. defend the interests of; support: his willingness to go to bat for his employees.bat2 • n. a mainly nocturnal mammal (order Chiroptera) capable of sustained flight, with membranous wings that extend between the fingers and connecting the forelimbs to the body and the hindlimbs to the tail. PHRASES: have bats in the (or one's) belfry inf. be eccentric or crazy.like a bat out of hell inf. very fast and wildly.bat3 • v. (bat·ted, bat·ting) [tr.] flutter one's eyelashes, typically in a flirtatious manner: she batted her long dark eyelashes at him.PHRASES: not bat (or without batting) an eyelid (or eye) inf. show (or showing) no reaction: she paid the bill without batting an eyelid.
BAT (Heb. עַטַלֵּף; atallef). About 20 species of insect-eating bats are found in Israel and one, the Rousettus aegyptiacus, which feeds on fruit. The bat is actually a mammal, but because of its wings which enable it to fly, the ancients were in doubt whether it was to be classified with birds or mammals. In the Bible it is last in the list of the unclean birds (Lev. 11:19) but the Talmud declares that "although it lays eggs, it suckles" (Bek. 7b). Apparently the rabbis attributed to the bat the eggs laid by other birds in their caves. The bat is long-lived (up to 30 years) and many legends were woven about its development (bk 16a). The bat causes extensive damage to fruit trees, particularly the date palm, as is indicated in the Jerusalem Talmud (tj, Pe'ah 8:1, 20d).
Lewysohn, Zool, 102–5; F.S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Arẓot ha-Mikra, 2 (1956), index; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 47; S. Lieberman, in: Leshonenu, 29 (1965), 132–5.
have bats in the belfry be crazy or eccentric; the phrase is recorded from the early 20th century, and the colloquial use of ‘bats’ to mean mad derives from this.
like a bat out of hell (moving) extremely fast; recorded from the 1920s.
Hence, or directly — (O)F. battre, bat vb. XV; in the sense ‘wink (the eyelids)’ perh. a var. of BATE.
There is an Oriental belief that the bat is specially adapted to occult uses. In the Tyrol, there is a folklore belief that the man who wears the left eye of a bat may become invisible, and in Hesse, he who wears the heart of a bat tied to his arm with red thread will always be lucky at cards.