“Bail” vs “Bale” – Confusing Homophones

What Do “Bail” And “Bale” Mean? 

Bail” and “bale” are two words that commonly confuse English speakers. This is because they are homophones. In other words, they sound the same when spoken. However, they have different meanings. 

“Bail” can be a noun to refer to the money required to release someone from police custody temporarily. When used as a verb, however, it can refer to the action of temporarily releasing someone from custody. Additionally, “bail” can also act as a verb that describes when someone runs away from a bad situation or physically scoops water out of a boat. 

In contrast, “bale” is a noun that refers to a tightly wrapped bundle of something, such as a bale of hay. When used as a verb, “bale” describes when something is pressed together and wrapped in a bundle. 

Using “Bail” In Idioms 

Even though “bail” is normally used to describe when you are temporarily freeing someone from police custody, it can also be used in idioms to describe when you are simply helping anyone out of a bad situation. For example:

  • Derrick needs to learn some responsibility. I have to bail him out of his issues every other week. 

“Bail” can also be used in idioms to describe when you abandon something/someone or break off a serious relationship. For instance: 

  • I’m sorry I left so abruptly. With all the noise and confusion, I got overwhelmed and needed to bail.

Examples Of Using “Bail” And “Bale” 

To begin, let’s take a look at a few example sentences that use the word “bail” as idioms, nouns, and verbs:

  • Before sentencing began, the criminal’s bail was posted to be over half a million dollars! 
  • The suspect had to stay in jail for 30 days without the proper amount of bail money. 
  • Samantha was tired of Jim’s antics. After bailing him out of jail for the fourth time, she put her foot down and told him to stop.
  • I planned to stay for the full 3 hours of the lecture today. Unfortunately, there was a family emergency, so I had to bail! 

Now that you have seen how “bail” can be used in sentences let’s look at how you can use “bale.”

  • The farmer’s least favorite job was hauling the bales of hay out to pasture. It was back-breaking work, but it had to be done. 
  • After harvesting the corn and milking the cows, I had to bale some hay.

Related: Check out our section on similar words here.

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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