• WordNet 3.6
    • n purlieu an outer adjacent area of any place
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Purlieu Hence, the outer portion of any place; an adjacent district; environs; neighborhood. "The purlieus of St. James.""brokers had been incessantly plying for custom in the purlieus of the court."
    • Purlieu Originally, the ground near a royal forest, which, having been unlawfully added to the forest, was afterwards severed from it, and disafforested so as to remit to the former owners their rights. "Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied
      In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n purlieu Land added to a royal forest by unlawful encroachment, but afterward disafforested, and restored to the former owners, its bounds and extent being settled by perambulation.
    • n purlieu plural The borders or environs of any place; the outskirts; outlying places: as, the purlieus of Paris.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Purlieu pur′lū the borders or environs of any place:
    • n Purlieu pur′lū (orig.) the grounds on the borders of a royal forest, illegally added to the forest, but afterwards restored to their rightful owners, and marked out by perambulation.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Corrupted (by influence of lieu, place) fr. OF. puralée, poralée,equiv. to LL. perambulatio, a survey of boundaries, originally, a going through); por,L. pro, confused, however, with L. per, through) + alée,. See Pro-, and Alley
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Acc. to Skeat, a corr. of O. Fr. puralee (a mere translation of L. perambulatio), land severed from a royal forest by perambulation—O. Fr. pur (=L. pro), allee, a going.


In literature:

The corn grown on the upland side of the borough was garnered by farmers who lived in an eastern purlieu called Durnover.
"The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy
The girl was brought up among exiles and political criminals in the purlieu of Montmartre.
"Carnac's Folly, Complete" by Gilbert Parker
As a purlieu hunter, I have hitherto beaten about the circuit of the forest of this microcosm, and followed only those outward adventitious causes.
"The Anatomy of Melancholy" by Democritus Junior
They evidently deemed that a legal purlieu was a better place for 'pickings.
"Prose Fancies" by Richard Le Gallienne
In what purlieu of Cockayne?
"Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle" by Clement K. Shorter
It is remarkable that the term purlieu is never once mentioned in this long roll of parchment.
"The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 1" by Gilbert White
A great fear seized her that it would be impossible to keep Hamlyn's Purlieu, and she was stricken with panic.
"The Explorer" by W. Somerset Maugham
From the eleventh story up, its wide windows surveyed every purlieu of Manhattan.
"Out of the Air" by Inez Haynes Irwin