Word of the Day

purlieu

audio pronunciation
April 06, 2009
noun
\PERL-yoo\
Definition
1
a : an outlying or adjacent district b : environs, neighborhood
2
a : a frequently visited place : haunt b : confines, bounds
Examples
"The boy, desperately nervous, continued to descend the zig-zag paths that would take him into the very purlieus of his father's house." (Ford Madox Ford, The Last Post)
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
In medieval England, if you were fortunate enough to acquire a new piece of land, you would want to have as many ceremonies as possible to make it clear that the land belonged to you. To assert the extent of your land, you might hold a ceremony called a "perambulation," in which you would walk around and record the boundaries of your property in the presence of witnesses. If your land bordered a royal forest, you might find that there was some confusion about where your land started and the royal forest ended. Luckily, the law said that if you performed a perambulation, you could gain at least some degree of ownership over disputed forest tracts, although your use of them would be restricted by forest laws and royals would probably still have the right to hunt on them. Such regained forest property was called a "purlewe" (or as it was later spelled, "purlieu"), which derives from the Anglo-French word for "perambulation."
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
April 21, 2015
omnipotent Hear it
having unlimited authority or influence
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears