"large bundle or package of merchandise prepared for transportation," early 14c., from Old French bale "rolled-up bundle" (13c., Modern French balle), from Frankish or some other Germanic source (such as Old High German balla "ball"), from Proto-Germanic *ball-, from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell." The English word perhaps is via Flemish or Dutch, which got it from French.
"to pack up in bales," 1750, from bale (n.). Related: Baled; baling.
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