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From Old French baile (palisade, enclosure), from Latin bacula, plural of baculum (stick, rod).[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈbeɪli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪli


bailey (plural baileys)

  1. The outer wall of a feudal castle.
  2. The space immediately within the outer wall of a castle or fortress.
  3. (in certain proper names) A prison or court of justice.
    the Old Bailey in London; the New Bailey in Manchester
  4. An argument which is controversial and more difficult to defend (in the context of a motte and bailey fallacy).
    • 2023 February 10, “Why Birds Are Not Dinosaurs (And Why It Matters)”, in Answers in Genesis[1], archived from the original on 2023-03-15:
      "Birds are dinosaurs" is the bailey; "birds are more similar to dinosaurs than anything else" is the motte.
      Answers in Genesis is an organization which advocates in favour of Young Earth creationism.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ baile”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.