Idioms

    at bat, Baseball.
    1. taking one's turn to bat in a game: at bat with two men in scoring position.
    2. an instance at bat officially charged to a batter except when the batter is hit by a pitch, receives a base on balls, is interfered with by the catcher, or makes a sacrifice hit or sacrifice fly: two hits in three at bats.
    bat the breeze. breeze1(def 11).
    go to bat for, Informal. to intercede for; vouch for; defend: to go to bat for a friend.
    right off the bat, Informal. at once; without delay: They asked me to sing right off the bat.

Origin of bat

1
1175–1225; (noun) Middle English bat, bot, batte, Old English batt, perhaps < Celtic; compare Irish, Scots Gaelic bat, bata staff, cudgel; (v.) Middle English batten, partly from the noun, partly < Old French batre; see batter1

Synonyms for bat

bat

2
[bat]

noun

any of numerous flying mammals of the order Chiroptera, of worldwide distribution in tropical and temperate regions, having modified forelimbs that serve as wings and are covered with a membranous skin extending to the hind limbs.

Idioms

    blind as a bat, nearly or completely blind; having very poor vision: Anyone can tell that he's blind as a bat, but he won't wear glasses.
    have bats in one's belfry, Informal. to have crazy ideas; be very peculiar, erratic, or foolish: If you think you can row across the ocean in that boat, you have bats in your belfry.

Origin of bat

2
1570–75; apparently < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish natt-batta, variant of Old Swedish natt-bakka night-bat; replacing Middle English bakke (< Scand), Middle English balke for *blake < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish natt-blacka
Related formsbat·like, adjective

bat

3
[bat]

verb (used with object), bat·ted, bat·ting.

to blink; wink; flutter.

Idioms

    not bat an eye, to show no emotion or surprise; maintain a calm exterior: The murderer didn't bat an eye when the jury announced its verdict of guilty.

Origin of bat

3
First recorded in 1605–15; variant of bate2

batt

or bat

[bat]

noun

a sheet of matted cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers.

Origin of batt

First recorded in 1830–40; special use of bat1

bat.

Masterson

[mas-ter-suh n, mah-ster-]

noun

William BarclayBat, 1853–1921, U.S. frontier law officer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bat

sock, blow, knock, thwack, bop, crack, wallop, smack, swat, bang, slam, rap, thump, strike, whack, belt, whop

Examples from the Web for bat

Contemporary Examples of bat

Historical Examples of bat

  • A bat circled near, indecisively, as if with a message it hesitated to give.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Run out the mile-an'-a-quarter, make a race of it, but don't go to the bat.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • So the man done it, and sure enough he was as blind as a bat in a minute.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • You can no more be told how to go light than you can be told how to hit a ball with a bat.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • I've got such an awful lot of stuff that I want to dictate it right off the bat.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole


British Dictionary definitions for bat

bat

1

noun

any of various types of club with a handle, used to hit the ball in certain sports, such as cricket, baseball, or table tennis
a flat round club with a short handle, resembling a table-tennis bat, used by a man on the ground to guide the pilot of an aircraft when taxiing
cricket short for batsman
any stout stick, esp a wooden one
informal a blow from such a stick
Australian a small board used for tossing the coins in the game of two-up
US and Canadian slang a drinking spree; binge
slang speed; rate; pacethey went at a fair bat
another word for batting (def. 1)
carry one's bat cricket (of an opening batsman) to reach the end of an innings without being dismissed
off one's own bat
  1. of one's own accord; without being prompted by someone else
  2. by one's own unaided efforts
off the bat or right off the bat US and Canadian informal immediately; without hesitation

verb bats, batting or batted

(tr) to strike with or as if with a bat
(intr) sport (of a player or a team) to take a turn at batting
See also bat around

Word Origin for bat

Old English batt club, probably of Celtic origin; compare Gaelic bat, Russian bat

bat

2

noun

any placental mammal of the order Chiroptera, being a nocturnal mouselike animal flying with a pair of membranous wings (patagia). The group is divided into the Megachiroptera (fruit bats) and Microchiroptera (insectivorous bats)Related adjective: chiropteran
slang an irritating or eccentric woman (esp in the phrase old bat)
blind as a bat having extremely poor eyesight
have bats in the belfry or have bats in one's belfry informal to be mad or eccentric; have strange ideas
like a bat out of hell slang very quickly
Derived Formsbatlike, adjective

Word Origin for bat

C14 bakke, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse ledhrblaka leather-flapper, Swedish dialect natt-batta night bat

bat

3

verb bats, batting or batted (tr)

to wink or flutter (one's eyelids)
not bat an eye or not bat an eyelid informal to show no surprise or concern

Word Origin for bat

C17: probably a variant of bate ²

batt

noun

textiles another word for batting (def. 1)
Australian and NZ a slab-shaped piece of insulating material used in building houses
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bat
n.1

"a stick, a club," Old English *batt "cudgel," perhaps from Celtic (cf. Irish and Gaelic bat, bata "staff, cudgel"), influenced by Old French batte, from Late Latin battre "beat;" all from PIE root *bhat- "to strike." Also "a lump, piece" (mid-14c.), as in brickbat. As a kind of paddle used to play cricket, it is attested from 1706.

Phrase right off the bat is 1888, also hot from the bat (1888), probably a baseball metaphor, but cricket is possible as a source; there is an early citation from Australia (in an article about slang): "Well, it is a vice you'd better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again, and I'll give it to him right off the bat. I'll wipe up the floor with him. I'll ---" ["The Australian Journal," November 1888].

n.2

flying mammal (order Chiroptera), 1570s, a dialectal alteration of Middle English bakke (early 14c.), which is probably related to Old Swedish natbakka, Old Danish nathbakkæ "night bat," and Old Norse leðrblaka "leather flapper," so original sense is likely "flapper." The shift from -k- to -t- may have come through confusion of bakke with Latin blatta "moth, nocturnal insect."

Old English word for the animal was hreremus, from hreran "to shake" (see rare (adj.2)), and rattle-mouse is attested from late 16c., an old dialectal word for "bat." As a contemptuous term for an old woman, perhaps a suggestion of witchcraft (cf. fly-by-night), or from bat as "prostitute who plies her trade by night" [Farmer, who calls it "old slang" and finds French equivalent "night swallow" (hirondelle de nuit) "more poetic"].

v.1

"to move the eyelids," 1847, American English, from earlier sense of "flutter as a hawk" (1610s), a variant of bate (v.2) on the notion of fluttering wings. Related: Batted; batting.

v.2

"to hit with a bat," mid-15c., from bat (n.1). Related: Batted; batting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bat

bat

In addition to the idioms beginning with bat

  • bat an eye
  • bat around
  • bat one thousand
  • bats in one's belfry, have
  • bat the breeze

also see:

  • at bat
  • blind as a bat
  • bats in one's belfry
  • go to bat for
  • like a bat out of hell

right off the bat.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.