One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The area near or surrounding a place.‘the photogenic purlieus of Cambridge’
surrounding district, surrounding area, neighbourhood, locality, locale, local area, area, district, region, quarter, sector, territory, domain, place, zoneView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Now based not in the West London Street of Lancaster Gate but in the vastly more costly, rent of far over £2 million a year, purlieu of Soho Square in Central London.’
- ‘To spend a theater-going weekend or so in these charming purlieus is a warmly recommended experience.’
- ‘They have made the big names look bland and left them languishing in the purlieus of the department store.’
- 1.1 A person's usual haunts.
- ‘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.’
- ‘It was the purlieu of Rob Roy MacGregor, whose exploits can be seen at the Visitor Centre in Callander.’
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’haunt, stamping ground, favourite spot, meeting place, territory, domain, resortView synonyms
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’.
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