Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (pûrl′yo͞o, pûr′lo͞o)
1. An outlying or neighboring area.
2. purlieus Outskirts; the environs.
3. A place that one frequents.

[Middle English purlewe, piece of land on the edge of a forest, probably alteration (influenced by Old French lieu, place) of porale, purale, royal perambulation, from Old French porale, from poraler, to traverse : por-, forth (from Latin prō-; see pro-1) + aler, aller, to go; see alley1.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Historical Terms) English history land on the edge of a forest that was once included within the bounds of the royal forest but was later separated although still subject to some of the forest laws, esp regarding hunting
2. (Human Geography) (usually plural) a neighbouring area; outskirts
3. (often plural) a place one frequents; haunt
4. (Human Geography) rare a district or suburb, esp one that is poor or squalid
[C15 purlewe, from Anglo-French puralé a going through (influenced also by Old French lieu place), from Old French puraler to traverse, from pur through + aler to go]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈpɜr lu, ˈpɜrl yu)

n., pl. -lieus.
1. purlieus, environs or neighborhood.
2. a place frequented by a person; haunt.
3. an outlying district of a town or city.
4. a piece of land on the edge of a forest, orig. land once part of a royal forest restored to private ownership.
[1475–85; alter. (simulating French lieu place) of earlier parlewe, parley, paraley purlieu of a forest < Anglo-French purale(e) a going through]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.purlieu - an outer adjacent area of any place
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Then from his loftie stand on that high Tree Down he alights among the sportful Herd Of those fourfooted kindes, himself now one, Now other, as thir shape servd best his end Neerer to view his prey, and unespi'd To mark what of thir state he more might learn By word or action markt: about them round A Lion now he stalkes with fierie glare, Then as a Tiger, who by chance hath spi'd In some Purlieu two gentle Fawnes at play, Strait couches close, then rising changes oft His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground Whence rushing he might surest seise them both Grip't in each paw: when ADAM first of men To first of women EVE thus moving speech, Turnd him all eare to heare new utterance flow.
What I saw their bravest and their fairest do last night, the lowest multitude that could be scraped up out of the purlieus of Christendom would blush to do, I think.
At house and home with me shall no one despair: in my purlieus do I protect every one from his wild beasts.
But she had no proof of this, and her instinct in the circumstances was to avoid its purlieus.
These skulking visitors would keep about the purlieus of the camp until daylight; when, on the first stir of life among the sleepers, they would scamper off until they reached some rising ground, where they would take their seats, and keep a sharp and hungry watch upon every movement.
The village soon presented the appearance of a busy fair; and as horses were in demand, the purlieus and the adjacent plain were like the vicinity of a Tartar encampment; horses were put through all their paces, and horsemen were careering about with that dexterity and grace for which the Arickaras are noted.
As I approached the purlieus of the inhabited portion of the city I was made aware of the proximity of the warriors' quarters by the squealing and grunting of the thoats and zitidars corralled within the hollow courtyards formed by the buildings surrounding each square.
START your 3-mile walk at Hale Purlieu Common in New Forest at the National Trust car park.
Go straight on and follow path that hugs edge of the purlieu, heading north-east, eventually passing under power lines.
The chef lineup includes Matthew Niessner of Halls Chophouse; Marc Collins of Circa 1886; Chris Ryan of Charleston Grill; Michael Perez of Cannon Green; Vinson Petrillo of Zero Restaurant + Bar; Michael Sichel of Hotel Bennett; Nick Torno of The Atlantic Room at The Ocean Course; Daniel Doyle of Poogan's Porch; John Zucker of Purlieu, Cru Cafe, and Cru Catering; and Jacob Huder of The Macintosh.
Located in the purlieu of megacity, the islanders are deprived of very basic necessities such as drinking water, sanitation and medical care, etc.