mortmain

noun

mort·​main ˈmȯrt-ˌmān How to pronounce mortmain (audio)
1
a
: an inalienable possession of lands or buildings by an ecclesiastical or other corporation
b
: the condition of property or other gifts left to a corporation in perpetuity especially for religious, charitable, or public purposes
2
: the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present

Word History

Etymology

Middle English morte-mayne, from Anglo-French mortmain, from morte (feminine of mort dead) + main hand, from Latin manus — more at manual

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of mortmain was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near mortmain

Cite this Entry

“Mortmain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mortmain. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Legal Definition

mortmain

noun
mort·​main ˈmȯrt-ˌmān How to pronounce mortmain (audio)
1
: the possession of real property in perpetuity by a corporate body (as a church)
also : the condition of property in such possession
2
: the controlling influence of the past
not used technically
Etymology

Anglo-French, from Old French mortemain, from morte (feminine of mort dead, from Latin mortuus) + main hand, from Latin manus

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