General English


  • noun an object shaped like a table-tennis bat used by a person on the ground to guide an aircraft when it is taxiing or parking


  • noun
    (written as BAT)
    a three-letter file extension used in MS-DOS systems to signify a batch file


  • A burned brick or shape that, because it is broken, has only one good end.
  • A piece of brick.
  • A single unit of batt insulation.
  • A piece of wood that serves as a brace.


  • noun the implement with which the batsman strikes the ball and defends his wicket, consisting of a hitting part (the ‘blade’) with a flat ‘face’ and a convex back, attached to a long cylindrical handle. The blade of the bat is made of willow and ‘shall not exceed 4¼ inches/10.8cm. at the widest part’ (Law 6). The handle of the bat is designed to deaden the shock waves transmitted from the blade by the impact of the ball. It consists of pieces of cane with thin strips of rubber in between, held together by a binding of twine and a rubber grip. The wedge-shaped bottom end of the handle (the ‘splice’) fits into a corresponding mortise in the blade, and the total length of the bat must not exceed 38 inches/96.5 centimetres. As Henry, one of the protagonists in Tom Stoppard’s play The Real Thing, observes, the bat ‘is actually several pieces of particular wood cunningly put together in a certain way so that the whole thing is sprung, like a dance floor’. There is no statutory limit to the weight of the bat, but the average weight of a full-size bat is about 2 pounds 4 ounces, while big hitters will use bats weighing as much as 2 pounds 12 ounces and occasionally even more. Remarkably, the Laws had nothing to say about the composition of the bat until a clause stating that ‘the blade of the bat shall be made of wood’ was introduced in the 1980 code, following Dennis Lillee’s experiments with an aluminium bat in the 1979–1980 Ashes series. This Law has been invoked more recently to outlaw bats that have exploited new technology, such as Ricky Ponting’s ‘Kahuna’, a bat reinforced by a strip of graphite running down its spine. For the purpose of adjudicating catches, the word ‘bat’ encompasses the bat itself, the hand holding the bat, and any part of the glove worn on the hand holding the bat (Law 6§3).
  • noun a batsman
    Citation ‘By the time I left school at the age of eighteen I was a good defensive bat’ (James 1963)
  • verb to play as a batsman, especially in the way described
    Citation ‘He [May] batted superbly throughout the tour, failing only in the last Test Match’ (Peebles 1959)
    Citation ‘He batted defiantly and assertively along with Ganguly and tackled every bowler confidently’ (Purandare 2005)
  • verb to play as a batsman at the specified position in the batting order
    Citation ‘In that match, the first time the Indians were playing at Lord’s, Limbdi had captained, batting no. 8 and making 11’ (Bose 1990)
  • verb to have one’s innings, either as an individual or a team
    Citation ‘In blazing heat, and in front of a rapt crowd, India won the toss in the first game, batted, and were bowled out for 197 on a sluggish pitch.’ (Jamie Alter, Cricinfo Magazine May 2006)
    See also bat out

Information & Library Science

  • suffix
    (written as .BAT)
    an extension to a filename, showing that the file is a batch file


  • noun an implement of varying shape used for striking the ball in many sports, e.g. cricket, table tennis and baseball
  • noun a heavy stick or wooden club


  • The lath wand traditionally sported by Harlequin.The word comes from French batte, a wooden sword.


  • acronym forbest available technology
    (written as BAT)


  • acronym forBest Available Techniques
    (written as BAT)
  • plural noun advanced methods used in industrial production which limit the emission of pollutants, introduced by the Pollution Prevention and Control system.

Origin & History of “bat”

Bat as in ‘cricket bat’ (OE) and bat the animal (16th c.) come from entirely different sources. Bat the wooden implement first appears in late Old English as batt ‘cudgel’, but it is not clear where it ultimately came from. Some have postulated a Celtic source, citing Gaulish andabata ‘gladiator’, which may be related to English battle and Russian bat ‘cudgel’, but whatever the word’s origins, it seems likely that at some point it was influenced by Old French batte, from battre ‘beat’.

The flying bat is an alteration of middle English backe, which was borrowed from a Scandinavian language. The word is represented in Old Swedish natbakka ‘night bat’, and appears to be an alteration of an earlier -blaka, as in Old Norse lethrblaka, literally ‘leather-flapper’. If this is so, bat would mean etymologically ‘flapper’, which would be of a piece with other names for the animal, particularly German fledermaus ‘fluttermouse’ and English flittermouse, which remained a dialectal word for ‘bat’ into the 20th century. It is unusual for the name of such a common animal not to go right back to Old English; in this case the Old English word was hrēremūs, which survived dialectally into the 20th century as rearmouse.