Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Have you ever bailed out a friend?

Did a friend bail on you?

These phrasal verbs are extremely common in English!

In today’s episode, you’ll find out what these terms mean.

Listen in and learn how and when to use them to talk about precarious situations in English.

Bail out

Lindsay asks Aubrey when was the last time she bailed out a friend.

Aubrey responds that she recently bailed out a friend by picking her son up from school.

She was able to pick him up with her kids and it wasn’t a big deal.

She has been in a similar situation where her friend bailed her out when she was stuck at work.

Aubrey shares that, especially now that she is a mom, she often asks for help.

In today’s episode, we’ll answer a listener’s question about the word ‘bail’ and share two useful phrasal verbs.

Here is the question:

Hi there, I’m one of your big fans. I was trying to ask something. Could you explain the word `bail` and how to use it? I’ve heard that word so many times here and there but I couldn’t understand the exact meaning even though I searched it in the dictionary. You know, bail, bail on, bail out….OMG I got confused. I hope you would explain it sometime soon. I really enjoy your podcast and youtube channel. thank you sooooo much. Take Care!

Min (Youtube)

You can check out an episode that is similar to today’s topic.

The episode is AEE 709: Don’t Bail On This Episode! Listen to Get Native Phrases to Say That You’re Going to Leave

This episode is great to learn phrases to use when you need to leave a party.

Bail and its several meanings

We definitely understand when Min mentions that it can still be confusing even if you look up a word in the dictionary.

The word ‘bail’ in itself already has multiple meanings.

One of its meanings refers to temporary release from prison.

Another is the removal of water from a boat.

You can also confuse ‘bail’ with ‘bale,’ as these are homophones.

Homophones are two or more words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.

‘Bale’ as a noun refers to a wrapped bundle and when used as a verb, it means to make into a bundle.

Examples of ‘bale’ used as a noun are:

  • Bale of hay
  • Bale of cotton

An example of ‘bale’ used as a verb is:

  • To bale hay in the morning

Phrasal verbs with the word ‘bail’

Here are a couple of useful phrasal verbs with the word ‘bail.’

#1: Bail on

This means canceling a commitment or not showing up.

You usually use this followed by a noun or pronoun.

You would bail on something or someone.

This is an informal term and this isn’t recommended to be used in a business setting.


I don’t mean to bail on you, but I’m sick and can’t make it tonight.

I can’t believe he bailed!

#2: Bail out

This has four different meetings.

The first one is to help someone with a problem.

This is particularly used to refer to the help provided for a financial problem.


I can’t make rent this month. Can you bail me out?

My parents had to bail me out when I couldn’t afford my car payment.

The second meaning is to leave a situation when it becomes difficult.

This is when you get out of a tricky situation.


Investors bailed out of the stock when it started plunging.

The third meaning is to physically jump from an aircraft or a ship.

This is for someone to jump overboard or out of the plane or ship.


The pilot had to bail out when the engine failed.

Lastly, the fourth meaning is to pay money to a court.

It refers to the actual payment to get someone out of jail.


His friend bailed him out when he was arrested.


Here is a quick roleplay from Lindsay and Aubrey using the phrasal verbs with the word ‘bail’ shared in today’s episode.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey discuss something that happened to Lindsay’s sister.

Aubrey: You met your sister for dinner last night, right? How did it go?
Lindsay: We were supposed to but she totally bailed on me!
Aubrey: She didn’t show at all?
Lindsay: Nope. She had a good excuse though. She had a run-in with the police and was in jail!
Aubrey: Oh no! Did you have to bail her out?
Lindsay: Yes! $500!

A bonus phrasal verb was mentioned in the roleplay.

‘Run-in’ means a disagreement or fight between someone, usually another person or entity with authority.


A word like ‘bail’ can be so confusing in English.

It has multiple meanings, can be used as a noun or a verb, and on top of that it is a homophone.

It is understandable to find it difficult to know when and how to use it.

Today’s episode breaks down this word so you understand all the meanings and can use it to connect in English.

Use the details mentioned by Lindsay and Aubrey and apply it to your daily conversations in English.

When was the last time someone bailed you out of a difficult situation?

Share your story using the phrasal verbs shared in today’s episode.

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