bail1 /beɪl/


I. noun [ mass noun]

1. the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court

he has been released on bail.
2. money paid by or for someone in order to secure their release on bail.

they feared the financier would be tempted to forfeit the £10 million bail and flee.
II. verb [with obj.]

1. release or secure the release of (a prisoner) on payment of bail

nine were bailed on drugs charges
[with obj. and infinitive]
he was bailed to appear at Durham Crown Court.
III. phrases

1. go bail (or stand bail)
act as surety for an accused person.

offering to stand bail for a guy who had been involved in a vicious attack.
2. jump bail

‹informal› fail to appear for trial after being released on bail.

he jumped bail and was on the run until his arrest.
3. post bail
pay a sum of money as bail.

if a defendant can post bail and presents no threat, he should be allowed to await trial at home.
IV. derivatives

bailable /ˈbeɪləb(ə)l /

– origin Middle English: from Old French, literally ‘custody, jurisdiction’, from bailler ‘take charge of’, from Latin bajulare ‘bear a burden’.

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