banlieue (n.)

French word for "suburbs, outskirts, outlying precincts of a town or city," 13c., from Vulgar Latin *banleuca, from Germanic *ban (see ban (n.1)) + leuca "a league" (of distance, in Medieval Latin, "indefinite extent of territory;" see league (n.2)). So, originally, "area around a town within which the bans -- rules and proclamations of that place -- were in force; territory outside the walls but within the legal jurisdiction." German had a similar formation, bann-meile (see mile (n.)), in the same sense; and compare Middle English bane cruces "crosses marking the boundary of territory subject to the edicts or laws of a certain ruler."

Share