Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person's specific area of interest, skill, or authority. synonym: field.
  • noun The office or district of a bailiff.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The county within which a sheriff exercises his office; the precincts in which a bailiff has jurisdiction; the limits of a bailiff's authority, as (in England) a hundred, a liberty, or a forest over which a bailiff is appointed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Law) The precincts within which a bailiff has jurisdiction; the limits of a bailiff's authority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun the district within which a bailie or bailiff has jurisdiction.
  • noun a person's concern or sphere of operations, their area of skill or authority.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the area over which a bailiff has jurisdiction
  • noun a branch of knowledge

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bailliwik : baillif, bailiff; see bailiff + wik, town (from Old English wīc, from Latin vīcus; see vicinity).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From bailie ("bailiff") and wick ("dwelling"), from Old English wīc.

Examples

  • As Jim has mentioned, my bailiwick is law firm libraries, as opposed to academic libraries.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • As Jim has mentioned, my bailiwick is law firm libraries, as opposed to academic libraries.

    Showdown at Québec City: Canadian law school versus law firm librarians

  • What I'm trying to say is, your basic religion doesn't seem to make much of a difference to your belief (or lack of it) in the things that are more in my bailiwick, which is any kind of contact with the dead.

    Grave Surprise

  • And I think I'm probably taking you outside a little bit of your bailiwick, which is intelligence.

    CNN Transcript Mar 24, 2004

  • Also in my bailiwick was the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, housed in the Carnegie-endowed Peace Palace.

    Staying Tuned

  • Also in my bailiwick was the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, housed in the Carnegie-endowed Peace Palace.

    Staying Tuned

  • Also in my bailiwick was the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, housed in the Carnegie-endowed Peace Palace.

    Staying Tuned

  • The county within which the sheriff exercises his jurisdiction is still called his bailiwick, while the term bailiff is retained as a title by the chief magistrates of various towns and the keepers of royal castles, as the high bailiff of Westminster, the bailiff of Dover Castle, &c.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy"

  • An inferior court known as the bailiwick tried ordinary civil suits and breaches of the peace.

    The Great Fortress : A chronicle of Louisbourg 1720-1760

  • However, he said decisions about moves into Japan are not within Mr. Jacobs '"bailiwick," indicating the direction of regional development will be led by Las Vegas Sands management, rather than the Macau-based Mr. Jacobs.

    Sands China Ousts CEO

Comments

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  • The current definition is something to the description of one's proper sphere of knowledge or influence.

    October 2, 2007

  • The older definition (from the OED online):

    A district or place under the jurisdiction of a bailie or bailiff. Used in Eng. Hist. as a general term including sheriffdom; and applied to foreign towns or districts under a vogt or bailli.

    Usages:

    c1460 FORTESCUE (1714): "A mean Bayliff may do more in his Bayly-Weke."

    1574 tr. Littleton's Tenures 51a, "By the othe of xii true men of hys bayliwike."

    1596 SPENSER (1862) "The sheriffe of the shire, whose peculiar office it is to walke up and downe his bayli-wicke."

    1678 T. JONES: "Our British Isles, which never were within the diocess or bayliwick of Rome."

    1796 MORSE Amer. Geog. II. 305 Berne. "This Canton contains 72 bailiwicks."

    And my favorite--with the word used in the sense of "stewardship":

    1550 CROWLEY, Epigrams, "Christe shall saie at the laste daye, Geve accounts of your baliwickes." I never thought about Christ using archaic English, and the thought rather tickles.

    October 2, 2007

  • This word is best pronounced with a British accent.

    October 2, 2007

  • I was glad I had found the bug and proved myself useful otherwise, or I wouldn't last long in Stan's bailiwick. -Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas

    December 11, 2010

  • Often misspelled.

    July 4, 2015