- an officer, similar to a sheriff or a sheriff’s deputy, employed to execute writs and processes, make arrests, keep order in the court, etc.
- (in Britain) a person charged with local administrative authority, or the chief magistrate in certain towns.
- (especially in Britain) an overseer of a landed estate or farm.
- British the agent or steward of a landlord or landowner
- a sheriff’s officer who serves writs and summonses, makes arrests, and ensures that the sentences of the court are carried out
- mainly British (formerly) a high official having judicial powers
- mainly US an official having custody of prisoners appearing in court
mid-13c., from Old French baillif (12c., nominative baillis) “administrative official, deputy,” from Vulgar Latin *bajulivus “official in charge of a castle,” from Latin bajulus “porter,” of unknown origin. Used in Middle English of a public administrator of a district, a chief officer of a Hundred, or an officer under a sheriff.