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

grandfather clause

noun

Simple Definition of grandfather clause

  • law : a part of a law which says that the law does not apply to certain people and things because of conditions that existed before the law was passed

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of grandfather clause

  1. :  a clause creating an exemption based on circumstances previously existing; especially :  a provision in several southern state constitutions designed to enfranchise poor whites and disenfranchise blacks by waiving high voting requirements for descendants of men voting before 1867

Examples of grandfather clause in a sentence

  1. Because of a grandfather clause, the strict emission standards only apply to new cars.



1900

First Known Use of grandfather clause

1900

Rhymes with grandfather clause


Law Dictionary

grandfather clause

noun

Legal Definition of grandfather clause

  1. :  a clause creating an exemption (as from a law or regulation) based on circumstances previously existing; specifically :  a provision inserted in the constitutions of some southern states after the Civil War requiring high standards of literacy and substantial property qualifications of voters except for descendants of men voting before 1867




Learn More about grandfather clause


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

formless massive experimental frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ