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 The council would have to examine zoning changes, along with other permits and land acquisitions — all this without resorting to eminent domain, which this council has no interest in pursuing. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 May 2022 The venture is part of the ongoing story of Black farmers fighting to overcome obstacles such as encroachment, eminent domain, gentrification and discriminatory laws. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, 24 Apr. 2022 The governing board approved taking the station by eminent domain in May. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 July 2022 Geist Park and Waterfront, Fishers Fishers used eminent domain proceedings to buy 70 acres near 109th Street and Olio Road in 2018 to develop as a combination beach and nature preserve, as well as recreational spot. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, 27 June 2022 Another ordinance authorizing eminent domain proceedings for a 4,592-foot easement across two parcels in the Kight Trail area was on the agenda the board reviewed Sept. 14, but Piller said Friday that the easement had been secured. David Showers, Arkansas Online, 20 Sep. 2021 The vote is a blow to the thousands of families who will be forced from their homes during eminent domain proceedings and the thousands of people who spoke out opposing the approval. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 31 Aug. 2021 By then, 99% of the homeowners vacated through eminent domain proceedings. Houston Mitchell Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2021 Some properties along Cesar Chavez Avenue, including a La Gloria Foods Tortilleria, were purchased through eminent domain and will be demolished to make way for the roundabout. Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of eminent domain

1783, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for eminent domain

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The first known use of eminent domain was in 1783

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eminent domain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eminent%20domain. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for eminent domain

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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