I know "bail on" is a phrasal verb that means to cancel an appointment or planned event at the last minute.
e.g. "Sorry to bail on you guys again but I can't come to the party tonight."
But when I Google it, I couldn't find sentences that use "bail on" in such contexts. Could you please tell me that it is common enough? Is it formal or not? Or in what situation it is proper to use? Why wouldn't we use "cancel"? Just because to imply that cancellation is at the last moment?
Hm, I haven't really thought about it. It is quite informal. The context of "bailing on" a party is the typical usage, eg. among friends. If you have looked it up, you'll know that the word "bail" is primarily for getting released from jail, and may therefore contribute a meaning of escaping your responsibilities. This association, though, could have also excluded it from more formal use (because it has criminal connotations).

"Cancel" is not (in my opinion) any more last-minute than "bail", but it is appropriate for more contexts. Additionally, if you are "bailing" on a party you are probably not "canceling" it, because you would cancel your own party (one you are holding) but bail on someone else's (one you have been invited to attend).

I would say, "I have to cancel the meeting with Mr. ___" / "I was going to see a movie with Cindy, but I've got to bail." Something like that. Does that help at all?
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"Bail on..." is used commonly enough in informal situations such as your example, but not in a professional situation. The word "Cancel" would be proper to use in both formal and informal situations.

You could also say "Sorry to flake on you guys..." in an informal situation such as your example.
Thanks, I think I got it. Emotion: smile

In my opinion, 'bail' is a shortened form of 'bail out', which literally refers to someone, usually the pilot, abandoning a plane by jumping out with a parachute.

People used to say eg 'I'm sorry I had to bail out of your party', but the 'out' gradually stopped being used, and the 'of' became 'on'.

I've just found this link. Have a look.


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Thanks Clive. Emotion: smile
It is a good point. I checked "bail out" too. But I didn't see any relation between "bail on" and "bail out". Thanks Emotion: smile
You've always been helpful, and I've always been grateful. Thanks. Emotion: smile

Did you read the link?

Yes. I looked up it before I start the thread. On the thefreedictionary.com. But your explanation helped to clear it up. Do you have another point?

People used to say eg 'I'm sorry I had to bail out of your party', but the 'out' gradually stopped being used, and the 'of' became 'on'.
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No. I thought my explanation was convincing.

I remember when people (kids) began to stop saying 'bail out' and started to just say 'bail'. Then 'on' gradually crept in.

But my memories are just mine.Emotion: smileEmotion: crying

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