Bailiwick

Another of those words that when I heard it the first time (and the second and the third) had no idea what it meant.  It is a strange word that sounds like nothing else I know.  Like with many of such words over time one develops a feeling for what they mean and how to use them to a point were I can use it correctly but still can’t define or translate it.

Filling in tax forms - not my bailiwick, pic: dangerousintersection.org

Okay, to end the suspense: bailiwick – as used in general language means a persons area of skill, knowledge authority, work, or expertise.

Here is an example:

“Sorry, I can’t help you with your taxes, filling in tax forms is really not my bailiwick.”

One from my own experience:  “I can’t help you with your swollen joints, I am a biologist, medicine is not my bailiwick.”

The origin for this one is known: the Middle English bailliwik(e) means “district under the jurisdiction of a bailiff (sheriff’s deputy)”.  That word derives from bailie (or bailiff) + wik(e) “village, district.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: