BA'ILIF, n.[Heb.lord,chief.] In England, an officer appointed by the sheriff. Bailiffs are either special, and appointed, for their adroitness, to arrest persons; or bailiffs of hundreds, who collect fines, summon juries, attend the assizes, and execute writs and process. The sheriff in England is the king's bailiff.
There are also bailiffs of liberties, appointed by the lords in their respective jurisdictions, to execute process, and perform other duties; bailiffs of forests and manors, who direct the husbandry, collect rents,&c; and water bailiffs in each port, to search vessels, gather toll for anchorage, arrest persons for debt on the water,&c.
The office of bailiff formerly was high and honorable in England, and officers under that title on the continent are still invested with important functions.