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Re: Bailiwick

Posted by ESC on February 22, 2000

In Reply to: Can anyone tell me the meaning of 'Not in my Baileywick'? posted by Ron on February 22, 2000

: The spelling might be incorrect, but I've tried to spell it as it's read. People seem to use it as a way of indicating something is not on their patch, or not within their responsibility. I'm not sure if it does have a connection to something or where it originated from. Can anyone help please.

"BAILIWICK - In general use, 'bailiwick' has come to mean your own province, particularly one in which experience or knowledge gives you special authority or freedom to act. However, it has had a very definite legal sense for centuries: the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff (sheriff's assistant). It goes back to Middle English 'bailie,' meaning 'bailiff,' and 'wick,' meaning 'village.' If you trace the origin of bailiff back to Latin, the poor chap suffers a loss in dignity since 'bailiff' is derived from 'bajalus,' the Latin word for 'porter.'" From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1977).