purlieu

noun

1
a
: an outlying or adjacent district
b
purlieus plural : environs, neighborhood
2
a
: a frequently visited place : haunt
b
purlieus plural : confines, bounds

Did you know?

In medieval England, if you wished to assert the extent of your land, you might hold a ceremony called a perambulation, in which you would walk around and record your property's boundaries in the presence of witnesses. If your land bordered a royal forest, there could be some confusion about where your land started and the royal forest ended. By performing a perambulation, you could gain some degree of ownership over disputed forest tracts, although your use of them would be restricted by forest laws. Such regained forest property was called a purlewe (or as it was later spelled, purlieu), which derives from the Anglo-French word for "perambulation."

Example Sentences

the restaurant, the preferred purlieu of the theatergoing crowd, is always packed an hour or two before showtime we stopped at one of the several pubs in the purlieus of the stadium

Word History

Etymology

Middle English purlewe land severed from an English royal forest by perambulation, from Anglo-French puralé perambulation, from puraler to travel through, measure, from pur- thoroughly + aler to go — more at purchase entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of purlieu was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near purlieu

Cite this Entry

“Purlieu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purlieu. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

purlieu

noun
pur·​lieu ˈpərl-ˌyü How to pronounce purlieu (audio)
1
: an outlying or neighboring district
2
plural : surroundings
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