Definition of bailiff noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbeɪlɪf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbeɪlɪf//
    Farm people
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  1. 1(British English) a law officer whose job is to take the possessions and property of people who cannot pay their debts The bailiffs seized the car and house. Their landlord has threatened to send in the bailiffs if they don’t pay their rent. Culture Bailiffs work for the county court. The bailiff's job is to make sure that the court's orders are obeyed. Bailiffs can come into a person's home to take goods in payment of a debt, to collect money owed for rent or taxes, to remove somebody who has no right to be there, etc. The police sometimes help them. There are also private companies of bailiffs, who have more limited powers.
  2. 2(British English) a person employed to manage land or a large farm for somebody else See related entries: Farm people
  3. 3(North American English) an official who keeps order in court, takes people to their seats, watches prisoners, etc.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French baillif, inflected form of bailli, based on Latin bajulus ‘carrier, manager’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bailiff