1 of 2


: an estate in land held in feudal law from a lord on condition of homage and service
: a piece of land so held
: an inherited or heritable estate in land
: a fixed charge
: a sum paid or charged for a service


2 of 2


feed; feeing

transitive verb

chiefly Scotland : hire
in fee
: in absolute and legal possession

Example Sentences

Noun The admission fee is $10. a credit card with no annual fee The tuition fees went up this year. We returned the library book late and had to pay a late fee. His insurance covers the doctor's fee. They paid a fortune in legal fees. Verb the townspeople fee country lasses as housemaids, nurses, and cooks See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Celebrated by state parks in both Oregon and Washington on the day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes called Autumn Day or Native American Heritage Day, the fee-free holiday waives all parking fees at parks where they’re normally charged. oregonlive, 23 Nov. 2022 Check your airline's website for travel alerts or advisories that may allow for fee-free changes in cases of bad weather. Marnie Hunter, CNN, 22 Nov. 2022 Since Bowens was unemployed at the time, the nonprofit paid the fee for his ID and for his transportation to and from the DMV. Time, 7 Nov. 2022 Later that month, after Gonzales had paid half the fee during a meeting attended by all three defendants, the FBI staged Malan’s death. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2022 Musk teased verification changes on Twitter, saying the process of getting a blue badge is under review, while The Verge reported that a fee-paying system for verified users in the works. Quartz, 1 Nov. 2022 After multiple rounds whittled the list of nominees down to two — Truss and Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor of the exchequer — the fee-paying members of the Conservative Party, numbering just 172,000, cast the deciding votes. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2022 One passenger paid the fee at the airport, then later requested a refund from American Airlines and was told no, according to the lawsuit. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 18 Oct. 2022 As Pusha told Rolling Stone, he was paid a one-time fee for his work but received no royalties for the ubiquitous tune. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 27 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French fé, fief, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English feoh cattle, property, Old High German fihu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle, pecunia money

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fee was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fee

Cite this Entry

“Fee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fee. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a set charge
admission fee
license fee
: a charge for a professional service
a doctor's fees

Legal Definition



: an inheritable freehold estate in real property
especially : fee simple compare leasehold, life estate at estate
absolute fee
: a fee granted with no restrictions or limitations on alienability : fee simple absolute at fee simple
conditional fee
: a fee that is subject to a condition: as
a : fee simple conditional at fee simple
defeasible fee
: a fee that is subject to terminating or being terminated
determinable fee
: a defeasible fee that terminates automatically upon the occurrence of a specified event : fee simple determinable at fee simple
fee patent
: a fee simple absolute that is granted by a patent from the U.S. government
also : a patent that grants a fee simple absolute
the land shall have the same status as though such fee patent had never been issued U.S. Code

Note: Allotments of parcels of land in reservations are held in private ownership by fee patents.

fee tail
: a fee which is granted to an individual and to that individual's descendants, which is subject to a reversion or a remainder if a tenant in tail dies with no lineal descendants, and which is not freely alienable see also entail entry 1, De Donis Conditionalibus compare fee simple conditional at fee simple

Note: The fee tail developed out of the fee simple conditional as a means to ensure that property would remain intact and in the family. Instead of giving the grantee a fee simple absolute once he or she has a child, which the grantee could then alienate (as by selling), the fee tail creates a future interest in the descendants which prevents the grantee and the descendants from alienating the property. A fee tail is created by a conveyance to the grantee and to the heirs of the grantee's body. In most jurisdictions, the fee tail is not recognized.

: a fixed amount or percentage charged
especially : a sum paid or charged for a service
attorney fees
contingency fee
: a fee for the services of a lawyer paid upon successful completion of the services and usually calculated as a percentage of the gain obtained for the client

called also contingency, contingent fee

compare champerty, maintenance
filing fee
: a fee charged for the filing of a document

Note: Filing fees are ordinarily charged in civil matters with the filing of the complaint.

jury fee
: a fee that is assessed in some courts as part of the cost of a civil jury trial
origination fee
: a fee charged by a lender for the preparation and processing of a loan
in fee
: under title that creates a fee

History and Etymology for fee

Middle English, fief, from Old French , fief, ultimately from a Germanic word akin to Old High German fehu cattle

More from Merriam-Webster on fee

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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