FEE, noun [Latin pecu, pecus. From the use of cattle in transferring property, or from barter and payments in cattle, the word came to signify money; it signified also goods, substance in general. The word belongs to Class Bg, but the primary sense is not obvious.]
A reward or compensation for services; recompense, either gratuitous, or established by law and claimed of right. It is applied particularly to the reward of professional services; as the fees of lawyers and physicians; the fees of office; clerk's fees; sheriff's fees; marriage fees, etc. Many of these are fixed by law; but gratuities to professional men are also called fees.
FEE, noun [In English, is loan. This word, fee inland, or an estate in trust, originated among the descendants of the northern conquerors of Italy, but it originated in the south of Europe. See Feud.]
Primarily, a loan of land, an estate in trust, granted by a prince or lord, to be held by the grantee on condition of personal service, or other condition; and if the grantee or tenant failed to perform the conditions, the land reverted to the lord or donor, called the landlord, or lend-lord, the lord of the loan. A fee then is any land or tenement held of a superior on certain conditions. It is synonymous with fief and feud. All the land in England, except the crown land, is of this kind. Fees are absolute or limited. An absolute fee or fee-simple is land which a man holds to himself and his heirs forever, who are called tenants in fee simple. Hence in modern times, the term fee or fee simple denotes an estate of inheritance; and in America, where lands are not generally held of a superior, a fee or fee simple is an estate in which the owner has the whole property without any condition annexed to the tenure. A limited fee is an estate limited or clogged with certain conditions; as a qualified or base fee which ceases with the existence of certain conditions; and a conditional fee which is limited to particular heirs.
In the United States, an estate in fee or fee simple is what is called in English law an allodial estate, an estate held by a person in his own right, and descendible to the heirs in general.
FEE'-FARM, noun [fee and farm.] A kind of tenure of estates without homage, fealty or other service, except that mentioned in the feoffment, which is usually the full rent. The nature of this tenure is, that if the rent is in arrear or unpaid for two years, the feoffer and his heirs may have an action for the recovery of the lands.