bai·liff | \ˈbā-ləf \

Definition of bailiff 

1a : an official employed by a British sheriff to serve writs and make arrests and executions

b : a minor officer of some U.S. courts usually serving as a messenger or usher

2 chiefly British : one who manages an estate or farm

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Other Words from bailiff

bailiffship \ˈbā-ləf-ˌship \ noun

Examples of bailiff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

To ensure that jurors could leave safely, more than 15 bailiffs were present in the courtroom, the Dallas Morning News reported. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Aryan Brotherhood leader gets life in power-drill murder over $600 dispute," 9 June 2018 Judge Kovach's staff and the court bailiff notified that prospective jurors had filled the courtroom, leaving no room for any other members of the public including media. Beau Evans,, "Possible jurors quizzed in Joe McKnight trial opening day," 16 Jan. 2018 For Broward court bailiff Roger DeHart, a journey of 1,065 miles began with a single cause: to raise awareness about human trafficking. Rafael Olmeda,, "Broward bailiff takes first steps in his battle against human trafficking," 6 Apr. 2018 As the seven women and five men prepared to hand the verdict to the bailiff, Anthony, then 25, was breathing heavily and blinking back tears. Steve Helling,, "How Casey Anthony Was Acquitted: The Jurors Explain Their Controversial Verdict," 5 July 2018 At the end of the day, bailiffs handcuffed him and took him back to jail. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Witness recounts stabbing death at S.A. murder trial," 11 July 2018 Sitting in the wrong position could earn a stern word from a bailiff. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "No Phones, No Exits: The AT&T Judge Wanted Folks to Hear His Verdict," 12 June 2018 In a video surveillance released Thursday, Rudd is seen calmly walking out of the courtroom as bailiffs run after him. Fox News, "Handcuffed suspect runs out of courtroom, nose dives off 2nd-floor railing in stunning video," 4 May 2018 Arceo said while bailiffs ejected him from the courtroom, KSL reports. Christine Pelisek,, "Grieving Husband of Slain Utah Woman Confront's Killer at Sentencing: 'Were You Sorry When You Beat Her?'," 13 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of bailiff

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bailiff

Middle English baillif, bailie, from Anglo-French baillif, from bail power, authority, office, from baillier to govern, administer, from Medieval Latin bajulare to care for, support, from Latin, to carry a burden — more at bail entry 3

Anglo-French, steward, king's official, from bail stewardship, custody, handing over — see bail

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Dictionary Entries near bailiff

Bailey bridge







Statistics for bailiff

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for bailiff

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

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More Definitions for bailiff



English Language Learners Definition of bailiff

: an officer in a court of law who helps the judge control the people in the courtroom

: someone hired by a sheriff to bring legal documents to people and to take away possessions when people cannot pay for them

: someone who manages the land and property of another person


bai·liff | \ˈbā-ləf \

Legal Definition of bailiff 

: an officer of some courts in the U.S. whose duties usually include keeping order in the courtroom and guarding prisoners or jurors in deliberation

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Comments on bailiff

What made you want to look up bailiff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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