bay1 / bā/ • n. a broad inlet of the sea.bay2 • n. 1. (also bay tree.) an evergreen Mediterranean shrub of the laurel family (Laurus nobilis), with deep green leaves and purple berries. Its aromatic leaves are used in cooking and were formerly used to make triumphal crowns for victors.2. a similarly aromatic tree or shrub of North America, esp. the bayberry used in the preparation of bay rum.bay3 • n. a recessed or enclosed area, in particular: ∎ a space created by a window-line projecting outward from a wall. ∎ short for bay window. ∎ a section of wall between two buttresses or columns, esp. in the nave of a church. ∎ a compartment with a particular function in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or ship: an engine bay a bomb bay. ∎ an area allocated or marked off for a specified purpose: a loading bay. ∎ Comput. a cabinet, or a space in the cabinet, into which an electronic device is installed: a drive bay.bay4 • n. a brown horse with black points.bay5 • v. [intr.] (of a dog, esp. a large one) bark or howl loudly: the dogs bayed.PHRASES: at bay forced to confront one's attackers or pursuers; cornered.hold (or keep) someone/something at bay prevent someone or something from approaching or having an effect.
1. Regular structural subdivision of a building, such as a church: in the latter case the building is divided along its long axis by bays defined by the buttresses, piers, and vaults, with windows inserted into the curtain-wall of each bay. In Classical buildings bays may be marked by Orders, vaults, roof-trusses, or beams, but it is erroneous to describe, say, an C18 Georgian domestic façade in terms of bays, as the number of windows may not relate to structure: five windows wide would be more correct.
2. Part of a framed building between the main supporting timbers. The term describes units, such as a two-bay hall, or a half-bay used as a cross-entry.
3. Free or light-space in a sash-window. See also bay-window.
Bay State informal name for the state of Massachusetts (the original colony was sited around Massachusetts Bay).
Bay Street the moneyed interests of Toronto, especially as opposed to other regions of Canada (Bay Street is a street in Toronto where the headquarters of many financial institutions are located).
Bay trees were also seen from classical times as having a protective role. In later tradition, bay trees (like rowans) might be planted as a protection against witches, and a bay tree withering was taken as a portent of evil.
Bay leaves have also been used as a traditional method of divination; the belief that bay leaves fastened to or placed under the pillow will result in dreaming of one's future spouse is recorded from the early 18th century.