grandfather clause

noun
plural grandfather clauses

Definition of grandfather clause

: a clause creating an exemption based on circumstances previously existing Hospital officials have asked for a grandfather clause for their heliports because without it, proposed zoning regulations would eliminate all city hospital helicopters.— Dan Donovan … his plan contained a grandfather clause. The fees would only apply to incoming students.— Scott Sherman … a friend, who is a landlord, started talking about "grandfather clauses" that would exempt him from making renovations when she asked him about making an apartment accessible.— Mary Grimley Mason specifically : a provision in several southern state constitutions designed to enfranchise poor white people and disenfranchise Black people by waiving high voting requirements for descendants of men voting before 1867 Several states, including Louisiana, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, inserted "grandfather clauses" in their constitutions in order to permit persons, who could not otherwise qualify, to vote if their fathers or grandfathers could vote in 1866. — John Hope Franklin

Examples of grandfather clause in a Sentence

Because of a grandfather clause, the strict emission standards only apply to new cars.
Recent Examples on the Web But a grandfather clause in the legislation allowed sitting officeholders to still tap the contents of their political war chests at the time the legislation was signed for everything from mortgages to college tuition. John Byrne, chicagotribune.com, 8 Jan. 2022 And guns purchased before the ban were protected by a grandfather clause. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 June 2021 Some have pointed out that the rule change could include a grandfather clause, meaning that justices confirmed before the passage of the bill would not be subject to the term limit. Aron Ravin, National Review, 14 June 2021 And guns purchased before the ban were protected by a grandfather clause. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 June 2021 The law includes a grandfather clause that exempts employees already in their positions from the ban. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2021 Several states instituted a grandfather clause as a loophole for white men who could not afford the poll tax or pass a literacy test. Javonte Anderson, USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2021 The new rules, which were approved quickly and unanimously by the City Council late last year, do not include a grandfather clause — a provision that would apply to Aguirre and other current operators. Jim Buchta, Star Tribune, 21 Jan. 2021 The grandfather clause effectively excluded them from voting -- a practice that continued until the 1960s, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Scottie Andrew And Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 6 July 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of grandfather clause

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for grandfather clause

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The first known use of grandfather clause was in 1899

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Dictionary Entries Near grandfather clause

grandfather chair

grandfather clause

grandfather clock

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Cite this Entry

“Grandfather clause.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grandfather%20clause. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for grandfather clause

grandfather clause

noun

Legal Definition of grandfather clause

: a clause creating an exemption (as from a law or regulation) based on circumstances previously existing specifically : a provision inserted in the constitutions of some southern states after the Civil War requiring high standards of literacy and substantial property qualifications of voters except for descendants of men voting before 1867

More from Merriam-Webster on grandfather clause

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about grandfather clause

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