bai·​ley | \ ˈbā-lē How to pronounce bailey (audio) \
plural baileys

Definition of bailey

1 : the outer wall of a castle or any of several walls surrounding the keep
2 : a courtyard within the external wall or between two outer walls of a castle

Examples of bailey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Paths and gardens fill the bailey – the courtyard where soldiers may have trained. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Dan McLaughlin wrote a brilliant piece recently about the Left’s motte-and-bailey tactics regarding the debate around CRT, and Quarshie’s definition is in the very bowels of the motte. Luther Ray Abel, National Review, 22 June 2021 Here, instead, were the motte-and-bailey dreams of Brexit, the blood and soil nationalism of soon-to-be President Trump and the majoritarian rage scorching through Indian democracy. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2020 But avoid mixers whenever possible — margarita mix, schnapps, baileys, curacao will generally add 10g of carbs per serving. Kimberly Mugler,, 26 May 2018 Your feudal lord did not have a range of mottes, baileys, bartizans, drawbridges, dungeons, machicolations and turrets to choose from. A-LIST, 2 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bailey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bailey

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bailey

Middle English bailli, palisade, bailey, from Anglo-French baille, balie

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The first known use of bailey was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bailey

bailer shell



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Cite this Entry

“Bailey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bailey

Bailey biographical name (1)

Bai·​ley | \ ˈbā-lē How to pronounce Bailey (audio) \

Definition of Bailey

 (Entry 1 of 3)

Liberty Hyde 1858–1954 American botanist


biographical name (2)

Definition of Bailey (Entry 2 of 3)

Nathan or Nathaniel died 1742 English lexicographer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Bailey (Entry 3 of 3)

Pearl Mae 1918–1990 American singer

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