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  1. the district within which a bailie or bailiff has jurisdiction.
  2. a person's area of skill, knowledge, authority, or work: to confine suggestions to one's own bailiwick.
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Origin of bailiwick

1425–75; late Middle English, equivalent to baili- bailie + wick wick3
Related formssub·bail·i·wick, noun

Synonyms for bailiwick

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for bailiwick

province, neighborhood, district, area, beat, jurisdiction, diocese, realm, territory

Examples from the Web for bailiwick

Contemporary Examples of bailiwick

Historical Examples of bailiwick

  • But would she not find me, instead, and drive me out of her bailiwick?

    Wood Folk at School

    William J. Long

  • Gimpy Gordon scuttled out of my bailiwick almost on a dead run.

    The Big Fix

    George Oliver Smith

  • You must keep out of her bailiwick if you want to keep her friendship.

    The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • Meere succeeded at the assizes in sustaining his right to the bailiwick.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

  • Out of my bailiwick, cried the doctor—way out of my bailiwick.

British Dictionary definitions for bailiwick


  1. law the area over which a bailiff has jurisdiction
  2. a person's special field of interest, authority, or skill
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Word Origin for bailiwick

C15: from baili(e) + wick ²
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 bailiwick


"district of a bailiff," early 15c., baillifwik, from bailiff (q.v.) + Middle English form of Old English wic "village" (see wick (n.2)). Figurative sense of "one's natural or proper sphere" is first recorded 1843.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper