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 Decades ago, about 300 properties stood on the site in the predominantly Black neighborhood before the city took over the homes and businesses through eminent domain, bulldozed them and paved them over. Dallas News, "Historic symbols, farmer’s market among ideas pitched for Fair Park’s future facelift," 28 Apr. 2021 Prohibiting park districts in certain counties from using eminent domain for bike paths and trails. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "Ohio budget: House poised to pass income tax cut, school funding overhaul," 21 Apr. 2021 The plan faced local opposition too, with critics denouncing a taxpayer giveaway to a foreign company and provisions of the deal that granted extensive water rights and allowed for the acquisition and demolition of houses through eminent domain. NBC News, "Foxconn plant, once touted by Trump as a 13,000-job juggernaut, will now create just 1,500 jobs," 21 Apr. 2021 In 2018, the History Connection took the club to court in a bid to acquire the lease via eminent domain. Sarah Bahr, New York Times, "A Push to Move the Golf Course Atop a Native American ‘Stonehenge’," 12 Apr. 2021 When Tom Botz rejected the $12.7 million deal, Hillside Villa called for City Council to buy their building and keep it permanently affordable, using eminent domain to force the sale. Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, The New Republic, "The Enduring Fiction of Affordable Housing," 2 Apr. 2021 Hahn told reporters that when scare tactics didn't work, Manhattan Beach declared eminent domain in 1924. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, "A Black family's beach property in California was taken during the Jim Crow era. The county is now giving it back, and it's worth millions," 12 Apr. 2021 Boston College trustees and Newton officials are wrangling in Middlesex Superior Court over the value of about 15 acres of Webster Woods that the city took through eminent domain more than two years ago. BostonGlobe.com, "Newton, Boston College spar in court over value of Webster Woods," 7 Apr. 2021 Putting expropriation on the table as a policy tool, demanding eminent domain to ensure a permanent right to stay put, the tenants of Hillside Villa have refused to become affordable housing’s collateral damage. Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, The New Republic, "The Enduring Fiction of Affordable Housing," 2 Apr. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eminent domain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eminent%20domain. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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