bald (adj.)

c. 1300, ballede, "wanting hair in some part where it naturally grows," of uncertain origin. Perhaps with Middle English -ede adjectival suffix, from Celtic bal "white patch, blaze" especially on the head of a horse or other animal (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, gleam"). But Middle English Compendium says probably formed on the root of ball (n.1) and compares Old Danish bældet.

Compare, from the same root, Sanskrit bhalam "brightness, forehead," Greek phalos "white," Latin fulcia "coot" (so called for the white patch on its head), Albanian bale "forehead." But connection with ball (n.1), on notion of "smooth, round" also has been suggested, and if not formed from it it was early associated with it. Sometimes figurative: "meager" (14c.), "without ornament" (16c.), "open, undisguised" (19c.). Of automobile tires with worn treads, by 1930. Bald eagle first attested 1680s; so called for its white head.

updated on April 14, 2019

Definitions of bald from WordNet
bald (adj.)
with no effort to conceal;
Synonyms: barefaced
bald (adj.)
lacking hair on all or most of the scalp;
a bald-headed gentleman
a bald pate
Synonyms: bald-headed / bald-pated
bald (adj.)
without the natural or usual covering;
a bald spot on the lawn
Synonyms: denuded / denudate
bald (v.)
grow bald; lose hair on one's head;
He is balding already
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.