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es·​tate i-ˈstāt How to pronounce estate (audio)
: social standing or rank especially of a high order
: a social or political class
specifically : one of the great classes (such as the nobility, the clergy, and the commons) formerly vested with distinct political powers
: the degree, quality, nature, and extent of one's interest in land or other property
: possessions, property
especially : a person's property in land and tenements
a man of small estate
: the assets and liabilities left by a person at death
: a landed property usually with a large house on it
British : project sense 4
British : station wagon


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: previously owned by another and usually of high quality
estate jewelry

Example Sentences

Noun His estate is worth millions of dollars. He inherited the estate from his parents. the grounds of the estate
Recent Examples on the Web
Lotusland Situated on the 37-acre former estate of opera singer and socialite Ganna Walksa is Lotusland, a botanical garden with over 3,400 different types of plants. House Beautiful, 30 May 2023 The Cotswolds The Roys convened in the English countryside for the last two episodes of the season for Shiv and Tom's wedding, which took place at the ancestral estate of her mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 29 May 2023 The 40-acre estate has a saltwater pool, hot tub and three-acre lake. Jeastman, oregonlive, 29 May 2023 The estate was last listed for sale at $38 million before being acquired by representatives of the Charlee Lochridge Cox Dynasty Trust. Mitchell Parton, Dallas News, 28 May 2023 The estate has a big pool house with an indoor pool, an impressively large garden that can accommodate events, and a classic bar with a wine cellar that houses 200 labels, not to mention a delicious breakfast menu. Christin Parcerisa Vigueras, Travel + Leisure, 28 May 2023 Justin Bieber, the estate of David Bowie and Sting have all recently completed sales of their respective music catalogs as well. Chloe Melas, CNN, 28 May 2023 Attorneys Sean Keith of Rogers and Tom Wagstaff of Overland Park, Kan., filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of the estate of Barbara Doyle against The Brookfield at Highland Crossing and Brookfield Assisted Living LLC. Tracy Neal, Arkansas Online, 27 May 2023 Rick Ross revealed on social media what prizes await those who have the best showing at his upcoming car show at his Georgia estate. Justin Ray, Robb Report, 26 May 2023
Currently popular items among these shops include vintage cameras and typewriters, pocket watches and timepieces, Victorian and estate jewelry, military memorabilia and World War II posters, sterling silver, and advertising signs. Cheryl P. Rose, Houston Chronicle, 15 Nov. 2019 The third lot was zoned estate single-family detached dwelling district zoning. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, 12 Oct. 2017 First, the lawyer who drew up your estate documents might be willing to serve as your executor, says Holly Isdale, founder of Wealthaven, a consulting firm in Bryn Mawr, Pa., that focuses on financial and estate plans. Glenn Ruffenach, WSJ, 27 Mar. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'estate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English estat, from Anglo-French — more at state

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1978, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of estate was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near estate

Cite this Entry

“Estate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the condition or circumstances of one's existence
: a social or political class
: the possessions or property of a person
especially : a person's property in land
: the assets and liabilities left by a person at death
: a large country house on a large piece of land

Legal Definition


es·​tate i-ˈstāt How to pronounce estate (audio)
: the interest of a particular degree, nature, quality, or extent that one has in land or other property compare fee, future interest at interest, remainder, reversion, tenancy
absolute estate
: an estate that confers an absolute right to property and that is subject to no limitations, restrictions, or conditions : fee simple absolute at fee simple
contingent estate
: an estate whose vesting is conditioned upon the happening or failure of some uncertain event
equitable estate
: the estate of one that has a beneficial right to property which is legally owned by a trustee or a person regarded at equity as a trustee (as in the case of a use or power) compare legal estate in this entry
estate at sufferance
: the estate in property held by one who remains in possession of or on the property after his or her lawful right to do so has ended
estate at will
: an estate in property subject to termination at the will of another person
estate by the entirety
: an estate held by a husband and wife together in which the whole property belongs to each of them and passes as a whole to the survivor upon the death of either of them to the exclusion of the deceased spouse's heirs

called also estate by the entireties

compare joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, and tenancy in common at tenancy
estate for years
: an estate that terminates after a set period
estate in expectancy
: an estate the enjoyment of which will take place at a future time : future interest at interest
estate of inheritance
: an estate that can be inherited (as a fee simple as opposed to a life estate)
estate on condition
: an estate subject to a contingency whose happening permits the grantor of the estate to terminate it if he or she so chooses compare fee simple determinable at fee simple
estate pur autre vie
: a life estate measured by the life of a third person rather than that of the person enjoying the property
estate tail estates tail
: an estate granted to a person and his or her direct descendants subject to a reverter or remainder upon the inheritance of the property by a grantee without direct descendants : fee tail at fee
legal estate
: an estate to which one person (as a trustee) has legal title but of which another person has the right to the beneficial use compare equitable estate in this entry
life estate
: an estate in property held only during or measured in duration by the lifetime of a specified individual and especially the individual enjoying the property see also life tenant

Note: Life estates are not estates of inheritance.

vested estate
: an estate in which one has a right to enjoyment currently or sometime in the future
: all or designated items of a person's or entity's property considered as a whole
bankruptcy estate
: the estate of a debtor in bankruptcy that includes all the debtor's legal and equitable interests in property as set out in the bankruptcy laws

called also debtor's estate

see also bankruptcy, trustee in bankruptcy
personal estate
: all of a person's property except real property
broadly : all of the property belonging to a person
separate estate
: an estate whose ownership and control is enjoyed by a person free from any rights or control of another (as a spouse)
: the assets and liabilities left by a person at death see also bequest, devise, freehold, heir, inheritance, intestate, leasehold, legacy, probate, testate, will
augmented estate \ ȯg-​ˈmen-​təd-​ \
: a deceased person's probate estate increased in accordance with statutory provisions and especially by the addition of any property transferred by the deceased within two years of death, any joint tenancies, and any transfers in which the deceased retained either the right to revoke or the income for life

Note: In some states, the surviving spouse's elective share is distributed from the augmented estate.

gross estate
: the estate of a person upon death defined by federal estate laws to include all of the deceased's real and personal property at death that may be passed by will or by intestate succession as well as specified property transferred by the deceased before death
probate estate
: all of a deceased person's estate that is administered under the jurisdiction of the probate court

Note: Some assets, such as certain insurance proceeds, generally do not become part of the probate estate and are said to “pass outside of probate.”

residuary estate
: all of what is left of an estate once the deceased person's debts and administration costs have been paid and all specific and general bequests and devises have been distributed

called also residual estate

taxable estate
: the estate of a deceased person that is subject to estate tax

Note: Under federal estate tax law, the taxable estate is the gross estate less allowed deductions.

: the aggregate of a deceased person's property considered as a legal entity
: a tract of land especially affected by an easement
dominant estate
: a tract of land that is benefited by an easement burdening a servient estate
servient estate
: a tract of land that is burdened by an easement benefiting a dominant estate


Anglo-French estat, literally, state, condition, from Old French, from Latin status, from stare to stand

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