bai·​liff | \ ˈbā-ləf How to pronounce bailiff (audio) \

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

Other Words from bailiff

bailiffship \ ˈbā-​ləf-​ˌship How to pronounce bailiff (audio) \ noun

Examples of bailiff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The court’s bailiff then transferred the money out of the account, leaving Google with no funds to make payroll and other expenses, the people said, declining to say how much was seized. Sam Schechner And Mauro Orro, WSJ, 18 May 2022 Benton continued to kick and strike the bailiff's left leg after they were separated, the complaint said. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 16 June 2022 The show features Chrissy Teigen and her mother, Pepper Thai, as judge and bailiff in this courtroom complete with real plaintiffs, defendants and disputes. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 24 May 2022 Cook directed traffic and took turns as the bailiff in interim Judge Marcus Jones’ courtroom. Ashley Remkus |, al, 30 Apr. 2022 But deputies ended up arresting Enoch as well as Avery Corbin, Hunter’s former bailiff. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, 15 Mar. 2022 The hearing rooms often have a bailiff, and students sometimes are sworn in at a lectern. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, 28 Apr. 2022 All of the adults involved in the hearing process — the prosecutor, the clerk, the bailiff, the hearing officer — were white. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, 6 May 2022 Additionally, Petri Hawkins Byrd will return to the courtroom, serving as the program’s bailiff. Joe Otterson, Variety, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for bailiff

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

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bailiff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bailiff


bai·​liff | \ ˈbā-ləf How to pronounce bailiff (audio) \

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

History and Etymology for bailiff

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bailiff

Nglish: Translation of bailiff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bailiff for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bailiff


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