A stretch of coastline of the Great Australian Bight

In geography, a bight (/bt/) is a concave bend or curvature in a coastline, river or other geographical feature,[1] or it may refer to a very open bay formed by such a feature.[2] Such bays are typically broad, open, shallow and only slightly recessed.[3]


Bights are distinguished from sounds, in that sounds are much deeper. Traditionally, explorers defined a bight as a bay that could be sailed out of on a single tack in a square-rigged sailing vessel, regardless of the direction of the wind[citation needed] (typically meaning the apex of the bight is less than 25 degrees from the edges).

The term is derived from Old English byht ("bend, angle, corner; bay, bight") with German Bucht and Danish bugt as cognates, both meaning "bay". Bight is not etymologically related to "bite" (Old English bītan).

Notable examples


  1. ^ "Definition of bight in English". Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  2. ^ "bight". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  3. ^ "What is a bight?". National Ocean Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 9 August 2016.