Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈfē\

Simple Definition of fee

  • : an amount of money that must be paid

  • : an amount that is paid for work done by a doctor, lawyer, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of fee

  1. 1 a (1) :  an estate in land held in feudal law from a lord on condition of homage and service (2) :  a piece of land so held b :  an inherited or heritable estate in land

  2. 2 a :  a fixed charge b :  a sum paid or charged for a service

in fee

  1. :  in absolute and legal possession

Examples of fee in a sentence

  1. The admission fee is $10.

  2. a credit card with no annual fee

  3. The tuition fees went up this year.

  4. We returned the library book late and had to pay a late fee.

  5. His insurance covers the doctor's fee.

  6. They paid a fortune in legal fees.

Origin and Etymology of fee

Middle English, from Anglo-French fé, fief, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English feoh cattle, property, Old High German fihu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle, pecunia money

First Known Use: 14th century




Definition of fee



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 chiefly Scottish :  hire

  3. 2 :  9tip 2

Examples of fee in a sentence

  1. <the townspeople fee country lasses as housemaids, nurses, and cooks>

15th Century

First Known Use of fee

15th century

FEE Defined for Kids


noun \ˈfē\

Definition of fee for Students

  1. 1 :  an amount of money that must be paid <A fee is charged to get into the park.>

  2. 2 :  a charge for services <a doctor's fee>

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of fee

  1. 1 :  an inheritable freehold estate in real property; especially :  fee simple — compare leasehold, life estate at estate absolute fee :  a fee granted with no restrictions or limitations on alienability :  fee simple absolute at fee simple conditional fee :  a fee that is subject to a condition: as a :  fee simple conditional at fee simple b :  fee simple on condition subsequent at fee simple defeasible fee :  a fee that is subject to terminating or being terminated determinable fee :  a defeasible fee that terminates automatically upon the occurrence of a specified event :  fee simple determinable at fee simple fee patent :  a fee simple absolute that is granted by a patent from the U.S. government; also :  a patent that grants a fee simple absolute <the land shall have the same status as though such fee patent had never been issued — U.S. Code> Editor's note: Allotments of parcels of land in reservations are held in private ownership by fee patents. fee tail :  a fee which is granted to an individual and to that individual's descendants, which is subject to a reversion or a remainder if a tenant in tail dies with no lineal descendants, and which is not freely alienable — see also 1entail, De Donis Conditionalibus — compare fee simple conditional at fee simple Editor's note: The fee tail developed out of the fee simple conditional as a means to ensure that property would remain intact and in the family. Instead of giving the grantee a fee simple absolute once he or she has a child, which the grantee could then alienate (as by selling), the fee tail creates a future interest in the descendants which prevents the grantee and the descendants from alienating the property. A fee tail is created by a conveyance to the grantee and to the heirs of the grantee's body. In most jurisdictions, the fee tail is not recognized.

  2. 2 :  a fixed amount or percentage charged; especially :  a sum paid or charged for a service <attorney fees> contingency fee :  a fee for the services of a lawyer paid upon successful completion of the services and usually calculated as a percentage of the gain obtained for the client —called also contingency, contingent fee — compare champerty, maintenance filing fee :  a fee charged for the filing of a document Editor's note: Filing fees are ordinarily charged in civil matters with the filing of the complaint. jury fee :  a fee that is assessed in some courts as part of the cost of a civil jury trial origination fee :  a fee charged by a lender for the preparation and processing of a loan

in fee

  1. :  under title that creates a fee

Origin and Etymology of fee

Middle English, fief, from Old French , fief, ultimately from a Germanic word akin to Old High German fehu cattle

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having marks of different colors

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • monster-werewolf-photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.