American Dictionary of the English Language

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TEN'URE, noun [Latin teneo, to hold.]

1. A holding. In English law, the manner of holding lands and tenements of a superior. All the species of ancient tenures may be reduced to four, three of which subsist to this day. 1. tenure by knight service, which was the most honorable. This is now abolished. 2. tenure in free socage, or by a certain and determinate service, which is either free and honorable, or villain and base. 3. tenure by copy of court roll, or copyhold tenure 4. tenure in ancient demain. There was also tenure in frankalmoign, or free alms. The tenure in free and common socage has absorbed most of the others.

In the United States, almost all lands are held in fee simple; not of a superior, but the whole right and title to the property being vested in the owner.

Tenure in general, then, is the particular manner of holding real estate, as by exclusive title or ownership, by fee simple, by fee tail, by curtesy, in dower, by copyhold, by lease, at will, etc.

2. The consideration, condition or service which the occupier of land gives to his lord or superior for the use of his land.

3. Manner of holding in general. In absolute governments, men hold their rights by a precarious tenure