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

mortmain

play
noun mort·main \ˈmȯrt-ˌmān\

Definition of mortmain

  1. 1 a :  an inalienable possession of lands or buildings by an ecclesiastical or other corporation b :  the condition of property or other gifts left to a corporation in perpetuity especially for religious, charitable, or public purposes

  2. 2 :  the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present



Origin and Etymology of mortmain

Middle English morte-mayne, from Anglo-French mortmain, from morte (feminine of mort dead) + main hand, from Latin manus — more at manual


First Known Use: 15th century


Law Dictionary

mortmain

play
noun mort·main \ˈmȯrt-ˌmān\

Legal Definition of mortmain

  1. 1 :  the possession of real property in perpetuity by a corporate body (as a church); also :  the condition of property in such possession

  2. 2 :  the controlling influence of the past —not used technically



Origin and Etymology of mortmain

Anglo-French, from Old French mortemain, from morte (feminine of mort dead, from Latin mortuus) + main hand, from Latin manus


Learn More about mortmain


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

mysterious, holy, or spiritual

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

interruption torrent rebellion megillah
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