All Words > Bailiwick

Saturday, October 5

Bailiwick

[bay-li-wik]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle English, 15th century

1.

A bailiff's jurisdiction

2.

A person's specific area of skill, knowledge, or ability

Examples of Bailiwick in a sentence

"Criminals who find themselves tried in his bailiwick can expect stern courtroom rules."

"I'm a novice at science, but literature is my bailiwick."

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About Bailiwick

Bailiwick has been in use in English since the 15th century, but only in the 1800s did it begin to be used to describe a person's area of expertise or study. A biology professor would most definitely be an expert on the classification of mammals.

Did you Know?

We use bailiff to describe something very specific today — the official who oversees the security of a courtroom. But in Middle English, it referred to the sheriff of a town or region, and their bailiwick was their area of jurisdiction.

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