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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English batel, batayle from Old French bataille, from Late Latin battālia, variant of battuālia (military exercises), from Latin battuō (to strike, hit, beat, fight), from a Gaulish root, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰedʰ- (to stab, dig). Doublet of battalia and battle.

Alternative forms[edit]


battel (plural battels)

  1. Archaic spelling of battle.
    • 1582 – 1610, Douay Rheims Bible, Book of Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Sirach) XL.1–11:
      Great trauail is created to al men, and an heauie yoke vpon the children of Adam, from the day of their comming forth of their mothers wombe, vntil the day of their burying, into the mother of al. Their cogitations, and feares of the hart, imagination of things to come, and the day of their ending: from him that ſitteth vpon the glorious ſeate, vnto him that is humbled in earth & aſhes. From him that weareth hyacinth, and beareth the crowne, euen to him that is couered with rude linen: furie, enuie, tumult, wauering, and the feare of death, anger perſeuering, and contention, and in time of repoſe in bed, the ſleepe of night changeth his knowledge. A litle is as nothing in reſt, and afterward in ſleepe, as in the day of watch. He is troubled in the viſion of his hart, as he that hath eſcaped in the day of battel. In the time of his ſafetie he roſe vp, and merueleth at no feare: with al fleſh, from man euen to beaſt, and vpon ſinners ſeuenfold. Beſides theſe things, death, bloud, contention, and ſword, oppreſſions, famine, and contrition, and ſcourges: for the wicked al theſe were created, and for them the floud was made. Al things that are of the earth, ſhal turne into the earth, and al waters ſhal returne into the ſea.
  2. (UK, law, obsolete) A single combat.
    trial by battel; wager of battel

Etymology 2[edit]


battel (comparative more battel, superlative most battel)

  1. (obsolete) fertile; fruitful; productive


battel (third-person singular simple present battels, present participle batteling or battelling, simple past and past participle batteled or battelled)

  1. (transitive) To make fertile.
  2. (transitive, intransitive, Oxford University) To supply with provisions from the buttery.
    • 1607, W. S. [attributed to Thomas Middleton or William Shakespeare (doubtful)], The Pvritaine. Or The VViddovv of Watling-streete. [], imprinted at London: By G[eorge] Eld, →OCLC, Act I:
      Troth, and for mine owne part, I am a poore Gentleman, & a Scholler, I haue beene matriculated in the Vniuerſitie, wore out ſixe Gownes there, ſeene ſome fooles, and ſome Schollers, ſome of the Citty, and ſome of the Countrie, kept order, went bare-headed ouer the Quadrangle, eate my Commons with a good ſtomacke, and Battled with Diſcretion; at laſt, hauing done many ſlights and trickes to maintaine my witte in vſe (as my braine would neuer endure mee to bee idle,) I was expeld the Vniuerſitie, onely for ſtealing a Cheeſe out of Ieſus Colledge.
  3. (intransitive, Oxford University) To stand indebted in the college-books for provisions and drink from the buttery.


battel (countable and uncountable, plural battels)

  1. (UK, Oxford University, chiefly in the plural) Fees charged by a college for accommodation and living expenses.
  2. (UK, Oxford University, chiefly in the plural, obsolete) Provisions ordered from the kitchen and buttery.
  3. (UK, Eton College, obsolete) A small allowance of food collegers receive from their dames (matrons) in addition to their college allowance

Etymology 3[edit]

From Hebrew בטל


battel (third-person singular simple present battels, present participle battelling, simple past and past participle battelled)

  1. (intransitive, Yeshivish) To waste, especially time.
  2. (transitive, Yeshivish) To nullify.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “battel”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)

Further reading[edit]