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purlieu

I was just reading ‘The Coming of the Terror’ by Arthur Machen, one of the stories in Tales Before Tolkien, and I came across the word ‘purlieus’.

purlieu noun (purlieus) 1 (usually purlieus) the surroundings or immediate neighbourhood of a place. 2 (usually purlieus) someone’s usual haunts. 3 Eng history an area of land on the edge of a forest which was once considered part of the forest, and which still remained subject to some of its governing laws, even after separation.

ETYMOLOGY: 15c in sense 3: from French puralé a going through.

Source: Chambers Reference Online.

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Categories: Lexicon
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