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

  • n. A person's specific area of interest, skill, or authority. See Synonyms at field.
  • n. The office or district of a bailiff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The precincts within which a bailiff has jurisdiction; the limits of a bailiff's authority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


Middle English bailliwik : baillif, bailiff; see bailiff + wik, town (from Old English wīc, from Latin vīcus; see vicinity).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From bailie ("bailiff") and wick ("dwelling"), from Old English wīc. (Wiktionary)



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  • Often misspelled.

    July 4, 2015

  • 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

  • This word is best pronounced with a British accent.

    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.

    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

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

    October 2, 2007