At Constantinople, the person who had charge of the imperial
children used to be called the bajulus, from baios, a
child. The word was subsequently attached to the Venetian consul at
Constantinople, and the Venetian ambassador was called the balio, a word afterwards extended to any superintendent or magistrate. In
France the bailli was a superintendent of the royal domains and
commander of the troops. In time, any superintendent of even a private
estate was so called, whence our farmer's bailiff. The sheriff
is the king's bailiff—a title now applied almost exclusively to his
deputies or officers. (See Bumbailiff.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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