One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The defensive wall of a castle, or the area it enclosed; one of a series of such walls or courts.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Francis Grose (d. 1791), antiquary. From post-classical Latin ballium outer rampart of a castle, apparently from Anglo-Norman bail, baile and Old French bail (although this is first attested later: see discussion at that entry).
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