eminent domain


Definition of eminent domain

: a right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction

Examples of eminent domain in a Sentence

The state took the homes by eminent domain to build the new road.
Recent Examples on the Web Government builders have also been slowed by eminent domain battles with landowners reluctant to sell. Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica, "He Built a Privately Funded Border Wall. It’s Already at Risk of Falling Down if Not Fixed.," 2 July 2020 After the project collapsed and Ambrose sold parts of the site to the Indianapolis Zoo, the developer sparred with the city, which threatened to seize the land via eminent domain to control future development there. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "Developer, city of Indianapolis still in mediation over former GM stamping plant site," 19 June 2020 Sale says that the Pacific Connector Pipeline is an especially egregious example of eminent domain. Popular Science, "Landowners say pipelines are being constructed in their backyards with little regard for COVID-19," 18 June 2020 In November, Ambrose sued to prevent Mayor Joe Hogsett's administration from acquiring the land through eminent domain. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "Developer, city of Indianapolis still in mediation over former GM stamping plant site," 19 June 2020 Rite-Hite's ability to expand its current headquarters was severely limited in 2017 when the Village of Brown Deer acquired 6.5 acres from Rite-Hite through eminent domain. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rite-Hite wins Plan Commission approval for new Milwaukee corporate campus with around 300 workers," 1 June 2020 Elected officials at every level can take actions to stop the pipeline, by denying local construction permits, enacting bans on eminent domain for private gain, and honoring treaties with tribal nations. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "How to Combat Climate Depression," 30 Apr. 2020 Trump Tower, which stands on that spot, could be seized by eminent domain. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: U.S. should build a memorial ‘plague column’ for COVID-19, but where? Here’s an idea," 5 May 2020 When the Raiders prepared to move from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, the city sought to prevent the move by suing to take possession of the team through eminent domain. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Court tosses Oakland’s antitrust suit over Raiders’ Las Vegas move," 1 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eminent domain.' 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 eminent domain

1783, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for eminent domain

Time Traveler

The first known use of eminent domain was in 1783

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Statistics for eminent domain

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eminent domain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eminent%20domain. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for eminent domain

eminent domain


English Language Learners Definition of eminent domain

law : a right of a government to take private property for public use

eminent domain

em·​i·​nent do·​main | \ ˈe-mə-nənt- \

Legal Definition of eminent domain

: the right of the government to take property from a private owner for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of its sovereignty over all lands within its jurisdiction — see also condemn, expropriate, take sense 1b

Note: The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the government to compensate the owner of property taken by eminent domain, stating “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” State constitutions contain similar provisions requiring that the property owner receive just compensation for the property taken.

More from Merriam-Webster on eminent domain

Britannica English: Translation of eminent domain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eminent domain

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