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Bath or bathe

Bath is a noun that can mean many things, including a cleansing of the body, a contained liquid used to wash the body, a bathroom, bathtub, or a financial setback. One can take a bath, have a bath, or soak in a bath. The plural is baths. However, never does this word mean to have a bath or to wash. All forms are pronounced with the short sound. A blood bath is a massacre where lots of blood is split, so much that people are soaked in it. This can be literal or figurative.


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The verb to wash the body is bathe. Bathe can also be used to mean swimming leisurely. Its other forms include bathed, and bathing. One can be a bather. All of these forms are pronounced with the long sound, such as is found in bait and ate.

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  1. I have recently moved to the mountains of North Carolina and have found the usage of the word bath as a verb to be a rather common colloquialism in this area. This includes using the term bathing with the short “a” sound. An example would be “I am going to bath my dog this afternoon”, or “the phone rang while I was bathing [short “a” sound] the baby”. I am curious as to how this usage came about and whether or not it may be educationally related. Also, are there any other geographical areas where similar usage is acceptable.

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