grandfather clause


Definition of grandfather clause

: a clause creating an exemption based on circumstances previously existing especially : a provision in several southern state constitutions designed to enfranchise poor whites and disenfranchise Blacks by waiving high voting requirements for descendants of men voting before 1867

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 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, "Minneapolis cap on short-term rentals upsets operators, developers," 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, "Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations," 6 July 2020 Starting in the 1890s, Southern states advanced measures to disfranchise blacks, including literacy tests, poll taxes and grandfather clauses. Frank Scaturro, WSJ, "The ‘Living Constitution’ Denied the Vote to Generations," 2 Feb. 2020 And guns purchased before the ban were protected by a grandfather clause. Matthias Gafni,, "Source: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter’s rifle was legal in Nevada, banned in California," 29 July 2019 The city has said that compliance with current codes wasn’t required because of a grandfather clause in the city’s building code that would apply to the former Park Savoy Hotel. Tyler Blint-welsh, WSJ, "Manhattan Homeless Shelter Gets Green Light as Neighborhood Group Plans Appeal," 12 June 2019 Suzanne Silverstein, president of the West 58th Street Coalition, said in an interview Wednesday that the city was irresponsible for using the grandfather clause. Tyler Blint-welsh, WSJ, "Manhattan Homeless Shelter Gets Green Light as Neighborhood Group Plans Appeal," 12 June 2019 Within the bill is a grandfather clause granting cities with current contracts to continue utilizing red light cameras until the contract is over, unless the contract includes a clause allowing for early cancellation. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "New law halts Jersey Village’s plan to reinstall red-light cameras," 6 June 2019 The situation has been debated in the public eye in the past month, with some property owners decrying the grandfather clause, and others saying the new rules, particularly the parking requirement, are too restrictive. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Waiting period will stay in new Aurora property code," 27 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of grandfather clause

1899, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of grandfather clause was in 1899

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Last Updated

7 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grandfather clause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for grandfather clause

grandfather clause


English Language Learners Definition of grandfather clause

US, law : a part of a law which says that the law does not apply to certain people and things because of conditions that existed before the law was passed

grandfather clause


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

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