Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bail & Bale

Kent from Traverse City asked about the connection between a bale of hay and the bail pledged to get out of jail. It turns out that there is no connection. The words are homophones—they’re pronounced the same—but their spelling and meaning are totally different.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists four words spelled b-a-i-l. Their identical spelling is a quirk of history.

·      A handing over or delivery.
·      A half-hoop for supporting the cover of a wagon.
·      A container used to remove water from a boat.
·      An outer line of fortification.
·      A cross bar.
Three nouns spelled b-a-l-e are also listed.

·      Evil with the power to injure or destroy.
·      A great consuming conflagration.
·      A large bundle or package.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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