Bailey comes from an English surname, an occupational name for a bailiff, someone who was an officer of the court, similar to a sheriff or sheriff’s deputy charged with keeping order. Bailiff comes from Old French bailif via Vulgar Latin *baiulīvus (official in charge of a castle) < Latin baiulus (porter, carrier) of uncertain origin, though it’s possible it may have been derived from a Germanic or perhaps Celtic origin.

Bailey may also have originated as a topographical name for someone who lived near a bailey, the outermost wall of a castle. It comes from Old French baile (palisade, enclosure), perhaps from Latin vallum (rampart, military wall), the spelling perhaps influenced by baiulus.

It’s also possible that it may have originated as a locational name meaning “berry clearing”, composed of Old English elements beriġe (berry) and lēah(woodland; clearing), both deriving from a PIE origin.

Origin: uncertain; Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: various such as “bailiff”, also refers to the outer wall of a castle, as well as also being a locational name “berry clearing”

Usage: English



  • Bailee (English)
  • Baylee (English)
  • Baylie (English)

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