What Does the Expression “Keep Danger At Bay” Mean and How Did the Saying Originate?

Keeping danger at bay obviously means to take action to protect your interests, but how does the word “bay” get involved?

The ancients believed the bay tree had mystical powers because it seemed never to be struck by lightning.

The Greeks and Romans wore its leaves during thunderstorms as protection, and wreaths were made from bay leaves to symbolize invincibility for athletes and victory for warriors.

During epidemics and plagues such as the bubonic horror in London, many people carried bay leaves, hoping to keep the sickness “at bay.”

The chance of drowning in one’s bathtub is 1 in 685,000.

A person is more than twice as likely to drown in a swimming pool than in a lake, ocean, or river.

The odds against fatally slipping during a bath or shower are 2,232 to 1.

The chance of being struck by lightning in the course of a year is 1 in 240,000, while in one’s lifetime it is 1 in 3,000. The odds against being killed by lightning are 2,320,000 to 1.

The odds against dying from an insect, snake, or spider bite are 100,000 to 1.

The chance of dying from choking on food is 1 in 370,035. The chance of dying from food poisoning is 1 in 3,000,000.

The chance of dying from a shark attack is 1 in 300,000,000.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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