AskDefine | Define bay

Dictionary Definition

bay adj : (used of animals especially a horse) of a moderate reddish-brown color


1 an indentation of a shoreline larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf
2 the sound of a hound on the scent
3 small Mediterranean evergreen tree with small blackish berries and glossy aromatic leaves used for flavoring in cooking; also used by ancient Greeks to crown victors [syn: true laurel, bay laurel, bay tree, Laurus nobilis]
4 a compartment on a ship between decks; often used as a hospital; "they put him in the sick bay"
5 a compartment in an aircraft used for some specific purpose; "he opened the bomb bay"
6 a small recess opening off a larger room [syn: alcove]
7 a horse of a moderate reddish-brown color


1 utter in deep prolonged tones
2 bark with prolonged noises, of dogs [syn: quest]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Bay



  • , /beɪ/, /beI/

Etymology 1

From baie, from baca.


  1. A berry.
  2. A shrub of the family Lauraceae, having dark green leaves and berries.
  3. The leaf of this shrub, used as a herb.


  1. A body of water (especially the sea) more or less three-quarters surrounded by land.
body of water
  • (body of water): gulf
Derived terms

Etymology 3

From baie, from baée, from baer, from badare ‘to be open’.


  1. An opening in a wall, especially between two columns.
  2. An internal recess; a compartment or area surrounded on three sides.
  3. The distance between two supports in a vault.
  4. Each of the spaces, port and starboard, between decks, forward of the bitts, in sailing warships.
  5. A bay platform.
distance between two supports in a vault
Derived terms

Etymology 4

From bay, combined with apheticised form of abay; verbal form bayer, abayer.


  1. The excited barking of dogs when hunting or being attacked.
  2. In the context of "by extension": The climactic confrontation between hunting-dogs and their prey.
Derived terms


  1. To bark.
  2. To bark at.
  3. To pursue noisily, like a pack of hounds.
Derived terms

Etymology 5

From baie, from badius.


  1. Of a reddish-brown colour (especially of horses).
Derived terms


  1. A brown colour/color of the coat of some horses.
    bay colour:   
brown colour/color

Translations to be checked

Crimean Tatar







Extensive Definition

A headland is an area of land adjacent to water on three sides. A bay is the reverse, rather an area of water bordered by land on three sides. A large headland may also be called a peninsula. Long, narrow and high headlands may be called promontories. When headlands dramatically affect the ocean currents they are often called capes. A large bay may also be called a gulf, sound or bight. A narrow bay may also be called a fjord if its sides are relatively steep. Any bay may include other bays (for example, James Bay is a bay within Hudson Bay).


A headland is a piece of land that juts into the sea from the main land coast line. Headlands are shaped by erosion. They are formed when the sea attacks a section of coast consisting of alternating bands of hard and soft rock. The bands of soft rock such as sand and clay, erode more quickly than those of more resistant hard rock such as chalk. This would form a headland.
A bay is an area of water bordered by land on three sides. Bays are found between headlands where there are alternating outcrops of resistant rock and less resistant rock. Waves erode the areas of softer rock more rapidly than the hard rock to form bays.

Geology and geography

Headlands and bays are often found together on the same stretch of coastline. Headlands and bays form on discordant coastlines, where bands of rock of alternating resistance run perpendicular to the coast. Bays form where weak (less resistant) rocks (such as sands and clays) are eroded, leaving bands of stronger (more resistant) rocks (such as chalk, limestone, granite) forming a headland, or peninsula. Refraction of waves occurs on headlands concentrating wave energy on them, so many other landforms, such as caves, natural archs and stacks, form on headlands. Wave refraction disperses wave energy through the bay, and along with the sheltering effect of the headlands this protects bays from storms. This effect means that the waves reaching the shore in a bay are usually constructive waves, and because of this, many bays feature a beach. A bay may be only metres across, or it could be hundreds of kilometres across.
Sometimes bays form where movements of the earth's crust (tectonics) bring areas of land together, or move them apart. Usually these bays are referred to as seas or gulfs and not bays.

Beach Stability

Beaches are dynamic geologic features that can fluctuate between advancement and retreat of sediment. The natural agents of fluctuation include waves, tides, currents, and winds. Man-made elements such as the interruption of sediment supply, such as a dam, and withdrawal of ground fluid can also affect beach stabilization . A headland bay beach can be classified as being in three different states of sedimentation. Static equilibrium refers to a beach that is stable and does not experience littoral drift or sediment deposition or erosion. Waves generally diffract around the headland(s) and near the beach when the beach is in a state of static equilibrium. Dynamic equilibrium occurs when the beach sediments are deposited and eroded at approximately equal rates. Beaches that have dynamic equilibrium are usually near a river that supplies sediment and would otherwise erode away without the river supply. Unstable beaches are usually a result of human interaction, such as a breakwater or dammed river. Unstable beaches are reshaped by continual erosion or deposition and will continue to erode or deposit until a state of equilibrium is reached in the bay.

List of some well-known bays

A couple of non-gulfs (actually straits) are:
bay in Afrikaans: Landhoofde en baaie
bay in Arabic: خليج
bay in Bosnian: Zaliv
bay in Bulgarian: Залив
bay in Catalan: Badia
bay in Czech: Záliv
bay in Welsh: Bae
bay in Danish: Bugt
bay in German: Bucht
bay in Estonian: Laht
bay in Modern Greek (1453-): Ακρωτήριο
bay in Spanish: Cabo (geografía)
bay in French: Baie (géographie)
bay in Galician: Baía
bay in Korean: 만
bay in Croatian: Zaljev
bay in Ido: Bayo
bay in Indonesian: Tanjung
bay in Icelandic: Flói
bay in Italian: Baia
bay in Hebrew: מפרץ
bay in Latvian: Līcis
bay in Lithuanian: Įlanka
bay in Limburgan: Bóch (zieë)
bay in Dutch: Baai
bay in Japanese: 湾
bay in Norwegian: Bukt
bay in Polish: Zatoka (geografia)
bay in Portuguese: Baía
bay in Russian: Бухта
bay in Finnish: Lahti (vesialue)
bay in Swedish: Bukt
bay in Vietnamese: Vịnh
bay in Turkish: Körfez
bay in Yiddish: בוכטע
bay in Chinese: 海岬
bay in Chinese: 海灣

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Old Mug, Titian, accolade, adust, alcove, archives, arm, armlet, armory, arsenal, attic, auburn, award, badge, bank, bark, basement, bawl, bay window, bay-colored, bayard, bayou, bays, beep, bell, bellow, belt, bight, bin, blare, blast, blat, blate, bleat, blow, blow the horn, boca, bonded warehouse, bookcase, bow window, box, bray, brazen, bronze, bronze-colored, bronzed, brownish-red, buckskin, bugle, bunker, buttery, calico pony, call, cargo dock, carrel, casement, casement window, castaneous, caterwaul, cellar, chaplet, chest, chestnut, chestnut-brown, civic crown, clarion, closet, conservatory, copper, copper-colored, coppery, corner, cove, cranny, crate, creek, crib, crown, cry, cubby, cubbyhole, cubicle, cup, cupboard, cupreous, dapple-gray, decoration, depository, depot, distinction, dock, drawer, dump, dun, estuary, euripus, exchequer, fan window, fanfare, fanlight, ferruginous, fjord, flourish of trumpets, foxy, frith, garland, give tongue, give voice, glory hole, godown, gray, grille, grizzle, gulf, gut, harbor, henna, hold, honk, howl, hutch, inglenook, inlet, kudos, kyle, lancet window, lantern, lattice, laurel, laurels, library, light, liver-brown, liver-colored, livid-brown, loch, locker, louver window, loving cup, low, lumber room, lumberyard, magasin, magazine, mahogany, meow, mew, mewl, miaow, moo, mouth, narrow, narrow seas, narrows, natural harbor, neigh, niche, nicker, nook, oriel, paint, painted pony, palm, palms, pane, peal, picture window, piebald, pinto, pipe, pitchhole, port, porthole, pot, pule, quest, rack, reach, recess, recession, reddish-brown, repertory, repository, reservoir, rick, road, roads, roadstead, roan, roar, roomlet, rose window, rubiginous, rufous, russet, russety, rust, rust-colored, rusty, screak, scream, screech, shelf, shriek, skewbald, skylight, slough, snuggery, sorrel, sound, sound a tattoo, sound taps, squall, squeak, squeal, stack, stack room, stock room, storage, store, storehouse, storeroom, strait, straits, sunburned, supply base, supply depot, tank, tantara, tantarara, taps, tarantara, tattoo, terra-cotta, toot, tootle, transom, treasure house, treasure room, treasury, troat, trophy, trumpet, trumpet blast, trumpet call, tweedle, ululate, vat, vault, wail, warehouse, whicker, whine, whinny, whistle, wicket, wind, window, window bay, window glass, windowpane, wine cellar, wreath, yap, yawl, yawp, yelp, yip, yowl
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