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bat2

[bat] /bæt/
noun
1.
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
2.
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.
3.
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
dialectal Swedish
1570-1575
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 forms
batlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for have bats in one belfry

bat1

/bæt/
noun
1.
any of various types of club with a handle, used to hit the ball in certain sports, such as cricket, baseball, or table tennis
2.
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
3.
(cricket) short for batsman
4.
any stout stick, esp a wooden one
5.
(informal) a blow from such a stick
6.
(Austral) a small board used for tossing the coins in the game of two-up
7.
(US & Canadian, slang) a drinking spree; binge
8.
(slang) speed; rate; pace: they went at a fair bat
9.
another word for batting (sense 1)
10.
(cricket) carry one's bat, (of an opening batsman) to reach the end of an innings without being dismissed
11.
off one's own bat
  1. of one's own accord; without being prompted by someone else
  2. by one's own unaided efforts
12.
(US & Canadian, informal) off the bat, right off the bat, immediately; without hesitation
verb bats, batting, batted
13.
(transitive) to strike with or as if with a bat
14.
(intransitive) (sport) (of a player or a team) to take a turn at batting
See also bat around
Word Origin
Old English batt club, probably of Celtic origin; compare Gaelic bat, Russian bat

bat2

/bæt/
noun
1.
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
2.
(slang) an irritating or eccentric woman (esp in the phrase old bat)
3.
blind as a bat, having extremely poor eyesight
4.
(informal) have bats in the belfry, have bats in one's belfry, to be mad or eccentric; have strange ideas
5.
(slang) like a bat out of hell, very quickly
Derived Forms
batlike, adjective
Word Origin
C14 bakke, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse ledhrblaka leather-flapper, Swedish dialect natt-batta night bat

bat3

/bæt/
verb (transitive) bats, batting, batted
1.
to wink or flutter (one's eyelids)
2.
(informal) not bat an eye, not bat an eyelid, to show no surprise or concern
Word Origin
C17: probably a variant of bate²
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
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Word Origin and History for have bats in one belfry

bat

n.

"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].

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.

"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.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for have bats in one belfry

bat

noun
  1. A prostitute; a loose woman •Probably so called because she works at night (1600s+)
  2. old bat
  3. A woman, esp an ugly one (1880s+)
  4. A spree; carousal; binge (1840s+)
Related Terms

go to bat against, go to bat for, have bats in one's belfry, like a bat out of hell, right off the bat, take off like a bigass bird


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for have bats in one belfry

BAT

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Teaching
  2. best available technology
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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have bats in one belfry in the Bible

The Hebrew word (atalleph') so rendered (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18) implies "flying in the dark." The bat is reckoned among the birds in the list of unclean animals. To cast idols to the "moles and to the bats" means to carry them into dark caverns or desolate places to which these animals resort (Isa. 2:20), i.e., to consign them to desolation or ruin.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with have bats in one belfry
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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