easement

noun
ease·​ment | \ ˈēz-mənt How to pronounce easement (audio) \

Definition of easement

1 : an act or means of easing or relieving (as from discomfort)
2 : an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment also : an area of land covered by an easement

Examples of easement in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The conservatory, along with the Department of Natural Resources, takes this even a step further with conservation easements. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "Minnesota Zoo to release 400 endangered Dakota skipper butterflies," 6 July 2019 Some of the projects will involve the county actually buying the land, while in some other cases, the county will buy easements that will forever prohibit development, preserving the land as open space. David Gutman, The Seattle Times, "King County seeks to preserve 5,000 acres for parks, open space by the end of 2020," 27 June 2019 Typically, this easement becomes part of the land’s chain of title. al.com, "In fast-growing Fairhope, dispute brews over conservation issues," 25 June 2019 Many landowners are engaged in conservation and have entered into easements that limit future development on their parcels, and also provide them with significant tax breaks. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Who Gets to Own the West?," 22 June 2019 The land at the border is part of a 60-foot-wide federal easement from the Pacific Ocean to the Rio Grande. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arizona tribe refuses Trump’s wall, but agrees to let Border Patrol build virtual barrier," 9 May 2019 Another 20 percent of the state lands are open to hunters and anglers from September through February, thanks to leases or easements acquired by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Analysis shows roughly 80 percent of Colorado trust lands closed to public recreation," 19 June 2019 Conservation easements ensure that the land won’t ever be developed. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "This Company Wants to Make Trees the New Gravestones," 17 June 2019 The Methow Conservancy has negotiated easements for 8,507 acres in the area. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "A Modern Second-Home Retreat for Seattle’s Tech Elite," 19 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'easement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of easement

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for easement

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for easement

The first known use of easement was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for easement

easement

noun

Financial Definition of easement

What It Is

An easement is a legal right to trespass.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe owns five acres of land. He retires and decides that he doesn't want to keep paying property taxes on the full parcel. He decides to sell two of the five acres to Jane Smith, who builds a house on the parcel.

Because the land is surrounded on three sides by rivers and forest, Jane must drive over a patch of John's property to get to her house. When she buys the land, she negotiates an easement (probably at an extra cost), which allows her to have a driveway from the main road, over John's property, and to her house.

Utility companies often have easements on property so they can access utility lines, sewer pipes, cables and other physical components. In most cases, the easements dictate what sort of activity can occur (i.e., only for driving, not building).

Why It Matters

Easements often can be negotiated, and often they accompany the deed to a piece of property (so that the users of an easement don't lose access if the property sells). Sometimes, easements become implied if the same parties use a portion of a property for a long period of time.

Source: Investing Answers

easement in gross

noun

Financial Definition of easement in gross

What It Is

An easement in gross is a legal right to use another person's land for as long as the owner owns that land or the holder of the easement dies.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe owns five acres of land, which includes a good fishing pond. John sells an easement in gross to his old college roommate, Bill, who likes to fish in the pond. Because the easement is an easement in gross, Bill can fish on the land for as long as he lives or until John Doe sells the property.

Utility companies often have easements on property so they can access utility lines, sewer pipes, cables and other physical components. In most cases, the easements dictate what sort of activity can occur (i.e., only for driving, not building).

Why It Matters

Easements often can be negotiated, and often they accompany the deed to a piece of property (so that the users of an easement don't lose access if the property sells). Sometimes, easements become implied if the same parties use a portion of a property for a long period of time.

Source: Investing Answers

easement

noun
ease·​ment | \ ˈēz-mənt How to pronounce easement (audio) \

Legal Definition of easement

: an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment (as the right to cross the land or have a view continue unobstructed over it) — see also dominant estate and servient estate at estate sense 4 — compare license, profit sense 2, right-of-way, servitude
affirmative easement
: an easement entitling a person to do something affecting the land of another that would constitute trespass or a nuisance if not for the easement — compare negative easement in this entry
apparent easement
: an easement whose existence is detectable by its outward appearance (as by the presence of a water pipe)
appurtenant easement \ ə-​ˈpərt-​ᵊn-​ənt-​ \
: easement appurtenant in this entry
common easement
: an easement in which the owner of the land burdened by the easement retains the privilege of sharing the benefits of the easement

called also nonexclusive easement

— compare exclusive easement in this entry
conservation easement
: an easement granted by a landowner to a public or private entity (as a land trust) in which the landowner agrees to restrictions on use of the land (as from development) and the holder agrees to enforce the restrictions
determinable easement
: an easement that will terminate upon the happening of a specific event or contingency
easement appurtenant easements appurtenant
: an easement attached to and benefiting a dominant estate and burdening a servient estate — compare easement in gross in this entry

Note: Easements appurtenant run with the land and are therefore passed when the property is transferred.

easement by estoppel
: an easement that is created when the conduct of the owner of land leads another to reasonably believe that he or she has an interest in the land so that he or she acts or does not act in reliance on that belief
easement by implication
: an easement that is created by operation of law when an owner severs property into two parcels in such a way that an already existing, obvious, and continuous use of one parcel (as for access) is necessary for the reasonable enjoyment of the other parcel

called also easement by necessity, implied easement, way of necessity

easement by prescription
: an easement created by the open, notorious, uninterrupted, hostile, and adverse use of another's land for 20 years or for a period set by statute

called also prescriptive easement

easement in gross
: an easement that is a personal right of its holder to a use of another's land and that is not dependent on ownership of a dominant estate

called also personal easement

— compare easement appurtenant in this entry

Note: Utility companies often own easements in gross.

exclusive easement
: an easement that the holder has the right to enjoy to the exclusion of all others — compare common easement in this entry
implied easement
: easement by implication in this entry
negative easement
: an easement that entitles the holder to prevent the owner of land from using the land for a purpose or in a way that would otherwise be permitted
nonexclusive easement
: common easement in this entry
personal easement
: easement in gross in this entry
prescriptive easement
: easement by prescription in this entry
quasi easement
: the use by the owner of two adjoining parcels of land of one of the parcels to benefit the other

Note: A quasi easement may become an easement upon the transfer of one or both of the parcels.

reciprocal negative easement
: an easement created by operation of law and held by the owner of a lot in a residential development that entitles the holder to enforce restrictions that were part of the general development scheme against the developer and subsequent buyers who purchase free of the restrictions

History and Etymology for easement

Anglo-French esement, literally, benefit, convenience, from Old French aisement, from aisier to ease, assist

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More from Merriam-Webster on easement

Nglish: Translation of easement for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of easement for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about easement

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