I. verb — [no obj.] 1. (of a dog, especially a large one) bark or howl loudly. • the dogs bayed.
• a jackal baying at the moon.
2. (of a group of people) shout loudly, typically to demand something • the crowd bayed for an encore.
3. [with obj.] —
‹archaic› bay at
• a pack of wolves baying the moon.
II. noun — [in sing.] 1. the sound of baying. • the bloodhounds’ heavy bay.
III. phrases 1. at bay forced to face or confront one’s attackers or pursuers; cornered. • he felt at bay, like a very dim minister facing a hostile House.
2. bay for blood demand punishment or retribution. • the press is baying for blood.
3. bring someone/thing to bay trap or corner a person or animal being hunted or chased • the Athenians were brought to bay between the streams.
4. hold (or keep) someone/thing at bay prevent someone or something from approaching or having an effect. • drugs were keeping severe pain at bay.
5. stand at bay turn to face one’s pursuers • she will be doomed to stand at bay.
– origin Middle English (as a noun): from Old French ( a)bai (noun), ( a)baiier (verb) ‘to bark’, of imitative origin.