Dictionary: B – BAB-Y-LO'NI-AN, or BAB-Y-LO'NISH

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is the second letter, and the first articulation, or consonant, in the English, as in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and most other alphabets. In the Ethiopic, it is the ninth letter, and its shape is that of a hut. Perhaps from this or other like figure, it received its Hebrew name, beth, a house. It is a mute and a labial, being formed by pressing the whole length of the lips together, as in pronouncing eb. It is less perfectly mute than p, as may be perceived by pronouncing the syllables ab and ap. It is convertible, 1st, with p, as in the Celtic, ben or pen, a mountain; in the English, beak and peak, beck and peck; 2d, with v, as in the German, silber for silver; and in Spanish, b and v are used indifferently; 3d, with f, as in bore and perforo; Eng. bear, L. fero; in the Celtic bun, bunadh, bunait, stock, origin, foundation; English, found; L. fundamentum; with the Gr. φ, as Bilip, for Φιλιππος; 4th, with v and w; as, Ir. fior, L. verus; fear, vir; Ir. buiac, the wick of a candle. The Greek B is always pronounced like the English V, and the Russian B corresponds with the Greek. In composition, the letter B is changed into p before the letter p; as in opprimo, from ob and premo; oppono, from ob and pono; into f, before f, as in offero, from ob and fero; into c before c, as in occido, from ob and cado, and cædo. As a numeral, B was used by the Hebrews and Greeks, as now by the Arabians, for 2; by the Romans for 300, and with a dash over it thus, B̅ for 3000. B is used also as an abbreviation; thus B. A. stand for bachelor of arts; B. L. for bachelor of laws; B. D. for bachelor of divinity; B. F. before the decrees of the old Romans, for bonum factum. In music, B stands for the tone above A; B♭, for B flat, or the semitone major above A. B also stands for base, and B. C. for basso continuo, or thorough base.

BAA, n.

The cry or appropriate bleating of sheep.

BAA, v.i.

To cry or bleat as sheep.

BA'AL, n. [Oriental, בעל, lord.]

An idol among the ancient Chaldeans and Syrians, representing the sun. The word signifies also lord, or commander; and the character of the idol was varied by different nations, at different times. Thus Baal Berith is supposed to signify, the Lord of the Covenant; Baal Peor, or rather Baal Phegor, the Lord of the dead. Ps. cvi. Baal Zebub, the god of flies, &c.


Idle talk; senseless prattle. – Shak.

BAB'BLE, v.i. [D. babbelen; Fr. babiller; properly to throw out.]

  1. To utter words imperfectly or indistinctly, as children. – Prior.
  2. To talk idly or irrationally; to talk thoughtlessly. – Arbuthnot.
  3. To talk much; to prate; hence, to tell secrets. – Shak.
  4. To utter sounds frequently, incessantly, or indistinctly; as, a babbling echo; a babbling stream.

BAB'BLE, v.t.

To prate; to utter.


Idle talk; senseless prate; unmeaning words. – Milton.


An idle talker; an irrational prattler; a teller of secrets.


Foolish talk – 1 Tim. vi.


  1. Talking idly; telling secrets.
  2. Uttering a succession of murmuring sounds; as, a babbling stream.
  3. In hunting, babbling is when the hounds are too busy after they have found a good scent.

BABE, n. [Ger. bube, a boy; Ir. baban; D. babyn; Syr. babia; Phenician, babion; Ar. babah, a babe, an infant. Ar. بَابُسٌ‎ babos, or baboson, the young of man or beast; Syr. babosa, a little child. It is remarkable that this Syriac and Arabic word for an infant, is retained by the natives of America, who call an infant pappoos. L. pupus, a word of endearment; pupa, little girl; whence pupillus, pupilla, pupil. Ar. bobohon, the beginning of youth; Gr. βαβαι, and παπαι; Ar. بَأَبَأَ baba, to say baba, that is, father; papa, a word taken from the first attempts of children to pronounce the name of a parent.]

An infant; a young child of either sex.

BA'BEL, n. [Heb.]

Confusion; disorder. – Beaumont.


Finery to please a child; any trifling toy for children. – Sidney.


Like a babe; childish. – Ascham.

BAB'ISH-LY, adv.



The rind or shell of the fruit of the Mimosa cineraria. – Ure.

BAB-OON', n. [Fr. babouin, so called from its resemblance to a babe. This name seems to have originated in the Oriental babion, papio. See Babe.]

A monkey of the largest species; a quadruped belonging to the genus Simia, in the class Mammalia, and order Primates, according to the system of Linnæus; but by Pennant arranged under the digitated quadrupeds. Baboons have short tails; a long face; a broad high muzzle; dog-like tusks, or canine teeth; and naked callosities on the buttocks. They are found only on the eastern continent. – Encyc.

BA'BY, a.

Like a young child; pertaining to an infant.

BA'BY, n. [See Babe.]

  1. An infant or young child of either sex; a babe; [used in familiar language.]
  2. A small image in form of an infant, for girls to play with; a doll.

BA'BY, v.t.

To treat like a young child. – Young.


The state of being a baby. – Ash.


A place for children's dolls and babies. – Swift.


Like a baby; childish.


  1. Pertaining to Babylon, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Babylonia, or to the kingdom. The city stood on the river Frat, or Euphrates, and it is supposed, on the spot where the tower of Babel was founded.
  2. Like the language of Babel; mixed; confused.