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noun, plural bai·leys.
  1. the defensive wall surrounding an outer court of a castle.
  2. the courtyard itself.
Also ballium.

Origin of bailey

1250–1300; Middle English, variant of bail4


  1. Liberty Hyde,1858–1954, U.S. botanist, horticulturist, and writer.
  2. Nathan or Nathaniel,died 1742, English lexicographer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bailey


  1. the outermost wall or court of a castle

Word Origin

C13: from Old French baille enclosed court, from bailler to enclose; see bail ³


  1. David . born 1938, English photographer
  2. Nathan or Nathaniel . died 1742, English lexicographer: compiler of An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1721–27)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bailey


"wall enclosing an outer court," early 14c. (c.1200 in Anglo-Latin), baylle, variant of bail, from Old French bail "stake, palisade, brace," of unknown origin, perhaps ultimately connected to Latin bacula "sticks," on notion of "stakes, palisade fence." Old Bailey, seat of Central Criminal Court in London, was so called because it stood within the ancient bailey of the city wall. The surname Bailey usually is from Old French bailli, a later form of baillif (see bailiff).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper