noun tan·ist·ry \-trē\
variants: or


\taˈnistrēə, thȯˈn-\

Definition of tanistry





  1. :  an early Irish law of succession by which the heir or successor of a chief or king is appointed during the lifetime of the reigning chief, is not necessarily his oldest son, is generally the worthiest and wisest of the male relatives of the chief, and is elected by the people from among the eligible candidates but because of resultant bloody wars and feuds between families declared illegal by a decision of the AngloIrish judges in the first year of James I

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Origin and Etymology of tanistry

tanistry from tanist + -ry; tanistria from New Latin, from tanista tanist (from Irish Gaelic tānaiste), after English tanist : tanistry

Seen and Heard

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a trip made at another's expense

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