Definition of tanistry
: 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
Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:
- More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
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
What made you want to look up tanistry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).