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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bailiff

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

Examples of bailiff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Navalny said the formal reason for barring him from leaving Russia was a bailiffs ruling, dated Friday to collect 2.1 million rubles ($31,000) from him in damages in a civil lawsuit against a timber company. Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Seattle Times, "Russian opposition leader Navalny barred from leaving Russia," 13 Nov. 2018 Nevertheless, Samples attended and graduated from the University of Akron before working as a paralegal and bailiff. Seth A. Richardson,, "Dennis Kucinich chooses Akron city councilwoman as running mate," 19 Jan. 2018 DeAngelo stood stone-faced and ramrod straight in a courtroom cage, never looking at the courtroom packed with survivors, relatives, reporters and at least a half-dozen armed bailiffs. Fox News, "Golden State Killer suspect faces consolidated charges," 23 Aug. 2018 He was stopped by border guards and told that a ruling by court bailiffs over an unpaid fine had barred him from leaving Russia. Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Seattle Times, "Russian opposition leader Navalny barred from leaving Russia," 13 Nov. 2018 Pinter is currently being investigated for making threats toward or about other bailiffs at the main courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Linda Trischitta,, "Bailiff whose 67 guns were seized was disciplined twice before," 8 June 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bailiff



English Language Learners Definition of bailiff

US : an officer in a court of law who helps the judge control the people in the courtroom
British : someone hired by a sheriff to bring legal documents to people and to take away possessions when people cannot pay for them
British : someone who manages the land and property of another person


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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bailiff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bailiff

Spanish Central: Translation of bailiff

Nglish: Translation of bailiff for Spanish Speakers

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

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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!