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an officer, similar to a sheriff or a sheriff’s deputy, employed to execute writs and processes, make arrests, keep order in the court, etc.
(in Britain) a person charged with local administrative authority, or the chief magistrate in certain towns.
(especially in Britain) an overseer of a landed estate or farm.
Contemporary Examples

Before long, the judge asked the bailiff to remove him, Cooley said.
Sovereign Citizens Are a Sometimes Violent Fringe Group Rejecting All Government Winston Ross December 29, 2012

I saw a bailiff out of the corner of my eye begin to move toward us.
Joe Jackson’s Life as a Family Pariah Diane Dimond December 2, 2012

Historical Examples

As soon as the bailiff got out, ‘Prithee friend,’ (says he) ‘what is it that hangs upon yonder tree?’ ‘
Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745 Mrs. Thomson

“There is little merit in this confession,” quoth the bailiff sternly.
The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle

Prayers and bath over, Arina Petrovna felt almost reconciled with the world and had the bailiff summoned again.
A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov

“May ye hang him up for it, bailiff Scroope,” replied the Scot.
The Shadow of a Crime Hall Caine

The bailiff flung himself at Roger’s neck, and almost shrieked, “I’ll serve you as I—”
The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper Martin Farquhar Tupper

I understand, according to your theory, how a bailiff must be taught.
The Economist Xenophon

No action can be brought against a bailiff acting under order of the court without six days’ notice .
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 Various

And the bailiff will have things all his own way at Loreng for a year or two.
The Great Hunger Johan Bojer

(Brit) the agent or steward of a landlord or landowner
a sheriff’s officer who serves writs and summonses, makes arrests, and ensures that the sentences of the court are carried out
(mainly Brit) (formerly) a high official having judicial powers
(mainly US) an official having custody of prisoners appearing in court

mid-13c., from Old French baillif (12c., nominative baillis) “administrative official, deputy,” from Vulgar Latin *bajulivus “official in charge of a castle,” from Latin bajulus “porter,” of unknown origin. Used in Middle English of a public administrator of a district, a chief officer of a Hundred, or an officer under a sheriff.


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  • Bailiwick

    the district within which a bailie or bailiff has jurisdiction. a person’s area of skill, knowledge, authority, or work: to confine suggestions to one’s own bailiwick. Contemporary Examples He does so, hands in his star and rides on, leaving his bailiwick in the condition his patrons wanted. Summers Gave Obama Cover Michael Thomas September 21, […]

  • Bailment

    the delivery of personal property returnable to the bailor after being held for some purpose. Historical Examples This transaction with C constitutes a bailment, in which the bailor does not have title to the property bailed. Cyclopedia of Commerce, Accountancy, Business Administration, v. 3 Various It is a case of bailment,” said he to Rollo, […]

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