have bats in your belfry


2 [bat]
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.
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.
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.

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

batlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To have bats in your belfry
World English Dictionary
bat1 (bæt)
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.  slang (US), (Canadian) a drinking spree; binge
8.  slang speed; rate; pace: they went at a fair bat
9.  another word for batting
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
 a.  of one's own accord; without being prompted by someone else
 b.  by one's own unaided efforts
12.  informal (US), (Canadian) off the bat, right off the bat immediately; without hesitation
vb , bats, batting, batted
13.  (tr) to strike with or as if with a bat
14.  (intr) sport (of a player or a team) to take a turn at batting
[Old English batt club, probably of Celtic origin; compare Gaelic bat, Russian bat]

bat2 (bæt)
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: 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
Related: chiropteran
[C14 bakke, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse ledhrblaka leather-flapper, Swedish dialect natt-batta night bat]

bat3 (bæt)
vb , 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
[C17: probably a variant of bate²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"a stick, a club," O.E. *batt "cudgel," perhaps from Celtic (cf. Ir. and Gael. bat, bata "staff, cudgel"), infl. by O.Fr. batte, from L.L. battre "beat;" all from PIE base *bhat- "to strike." As a kind of paddle used to play cricket, it is attested from 1706.

"flying mammal" (order Chiroptera), 1570s, a dialect alteration of M.E. bakke, which is probably related to O.Swed. natbakka, O.Dan. nathbakkæ "night bat," and O.N. leðrblaka "leather flapper," so original sense is likely "flapper." The shift from -k- to -t- may have come through confusion
of bakke with L. blatta "moth, nocturnal insect." O.E. word for the animal was hreremus, from hreran "to shake." 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 Fr. equivalent "night swallow" (hirondelle de nuit) "more poetic"].

"to move the eyelids," 1847, Amer.Eng., from earlier sense of "flutter as a hawk" (1610s), a variant of bate (2) on the notion of fluttering wings.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  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.
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Bat definition

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
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature