Share this entry

purlieu Line breaks: pur|lieu
Pronunciation: /ˈpəːljuː/

Definition of purlieu in English:

noun (plural purlieus or purlieux)

1 (purlieus) The area near or surrounding a place: the photogenic purlieus of Cambridge
More example sentences
  • For further evidence, tour the purlieus of your state Capitol, contrasting the vulgar ostentation on the marbled side of the street with the squalid reality on the living side.
  • The National Art Collections Fund has mounted an exhibition, impressive even in the drab purlieus of the Hayward Gallery, of some of the most notable works it has helped to retain in Great Britain during the past hundred years.
  • One of the more enjoyable moments of a Scottish Cup final is that hour or so before kick-off when you take a gentle stroll around the purlieus of Hampden Park.
1.1A person’s usual haunts.
Example sentences
  • It was the purlieu of Rob Roy MacGregor, whose exploits can be seen at the Visitor Centre in Callander.
  • This process has actively been promoted by the Party, with its cult of Cool Britannia importing the likes of pop stars into 10 Downing Street, formerly the purlieu of Oxford dons and distinguished artists.
2British historical A tract on the border of a forest, especially one earlier included in it and still partly subject to forest laws: they wished the purlieus to be completely free from the Forest law


Late 15th century (denoting a tract on the border of a forest): probably an alteration (suggested by French lieu 'place') of Anglo-Norman French puralee 'a going round to settle the boundaries'.

Words that rhyme with purlieu

curfew • purview

Definition of purlieu in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkänfəˌdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...