tenant

noun
ten·​ant | \ ˈte-nənt How to pronounce tenant (audio) \

Definition of tenant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one who has the occupation or temporary possession of lands or tenements of another specifically : one who rents or leases a dwelling (such as a house) from a landlord
b : one who holds or possesses real estate or sometimes personal property (such as a security) by any kind of right

tenant

verb
tenanted; tenanting; tenants

Definition of tenant (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to hold or occupy as or as if as a tenant : inhabit

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Other Words from tenant

Noun

tenantless \ ˈte-​nənt-​ləs How to pronounce tenantless (audio) \ adjective

Verb

tenantable \ ˈte-​nən-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce tenantable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tenant

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Tenets vs. Tenants

Thanks to its confusingly similar pronunciation, tenant (“occupant, land-holder”) is sometimes erroneously used in place of tenet (“principle, doctrine”). Consider this example:

One of the ancient tenants of the Buddist [sic] belief is, “He who sits still, wins” –Police, January/February 1968

You will probably never make the opposite mistake (that is, substitute tenet for tenant), but if you think you might, remember that tenant and occupant both end in -ant.

Examples of tenant in a Sentence

Noun A tenant is now leasing the apartment. the laundry in the basement is for tenants only
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Following the openings of Ascension and ZAAP, WestBend has a deal with an apparel tenant and one more restaurant vacancy with four or five different operators expressing interest in the space. Pooja Krishna, Dallas News, "2 new restaurants to open in Fort Worth’s booming WestBend complex," 16 Oct. 2020 The building's sole tenant is Emperor Shoe Repair, which took out the entire 51st floor for $10 a month. Star Tribune, "Lileks: Oh, sure, we'd miss the IDS, at first," 16 Oct. 2020 Mandel Group has an anchor tenant for Makers Row, but is not yet ready to announce its name, said Bob Monnat, senior partner. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Construction to start in 2021 on more retail space, apartments at mixed-use project near West Allis Farmers Market," 14 Oct. 2020 While some thought the loophole defeated the bill’s purpose, Ciardullo argued in those circumstances, renters could provide context, unlike in a thumbs-up-thumbs-down report from a tenant-screening company. Kaylee Poche, NOLA.com, "House Committee says no to sealing eviction records during COVID-19 pandemic," 12 Oct. 2020 The annual membership fee is $30 per resident/tenant and $75 per landlord. John Benson, cleveland, "Lakewood Tool Box cleaning out the shed for its ‘Tool Box: Tool Sale’ scheduled for Oct. 17," 9 Oct. 2020 The lead tenant, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America, expected to have more than 2,600 people working on its 17 floors of the 56-story tower. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: City’s tallest office building in 30 years opens along Chicago River, mixing drama and banality," 9 Oct. 2020 The anchor tenant is expected to be Virgin Orbit, a part of Richard Branson’s Virgin universe. Stanley Reed, New York Times, "Britain Is Getting Ready for Its Space Race," 6 Oct. 2020 One of my District’s Russian Jack condominium housing Association charges $230 per month/per tenant for dues. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 16 — Paul Bauer," 3 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The city got behind these efforts, transferring the title of dozens of buildings to tenant organizations that created co-ops. Matthew Desmond, New York Times, "The Tenants Who Evicted Their Landlord," 13 Oct. 2020 Common Desk will also roll out a tenant experience app that will enable tenants to place Fiction Coffee orders, reserve conference rooms around the campus, and RSVP to tenant events and programs. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Retail wrap: Renowned Chinese hot pot restaurant makes Texas debut," 31 Jan. 2020 Here’s a look at the staffing and year 2020 goals for the Office of Financial Empowerment, from college savings to tenant protections. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Renters’ rights. Worker co-ops. College savings accounts for kids. In St. Paul, a new office is leading all that and more.," 27 Dec. 2019 So the building’s financial challenges belong, not to tenant Toll, but to its owners and their creditors. Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "Toll Bros. is a highly profitable luxury homebuilder. So how did its Horsham HQ end up in foreclosure?," 7 June 2018 As a landlord, Vision Property Management has had a reputation of not responding promptly to tenant complaints about major problems with its rent-to-own homes. Matthew Goldstein And Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "Vision, Operator of Rent-to-Own Homes, Gets Legislative Scrutiny," 13 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenant.' 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 tenant

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1634, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tenant

Noun

Middle English tenaunt, tenant, borrowed from Anglo-French, "holder (of land under various circumstances)," noun derivative from present participle of tenir "to hold, have possession of," going back (with conjugation change) to Latin tenēre "to hold, occupy, possess," probably derivative, with the stative suffix *-h1i̯é- (with zero-grade ablaut) of the Indo-European verbal base *ten- "stretch, extend," whence, from a present-tense derivative *tn̥-neu̯/nu-, Sanskrit tanóti "(it) extends, spreads, endures," Greek tánytai "(s/he) stretches, extends, bends (a bow)," Welsh tannu, tanu "to spread, extend"; from a causative derivative *ton-éi̯e-, Sanskrit -tānayati "(it) extends," Germanic *þanjan- "to stretch" (whence Old English þennan "to stretch," Old Saxon thennian, Old High German dennen, Old Norse þenja, Gothic ufþanjan "to overextend"); from a present-tense derivative *ten-i̯e-, Greek teínein "to stretch, extend, spread, aim at," with verbal adjective tatós, action noun tásis, both from zero-grade *tn̥-t-

Note: This explanation of Latin tenēre is conventional, though the shift of sense (from "stretch, extend" to "extend the arm" to "grasp, hold"?) is not paralleled in other languages. Latin has no outcome of the Indo-European verb-stem formatives based on *ten- attested in other families (shown in the etymology above), having replaced *ten- in transitive/telic functions with the base *tend- (see tender entry 3). Derivatives with the stative suffix *-h1i̯é- regularly take zero-grade ablaut, which may be reflected in tenēre, though it could equally reflect full-grade *ten-. It is claimed that Umbrian tenitu (3rd singular imperative), apparently a counterpart within Italic to Latin tenēre, must reflect *ten- (apparently on the assumption that zero grade would result in *tan-; see Michiel de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Leiden, 2008).

Verb

derivative of tenant entry 1

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Time Traveler for tenant

Time Traveler

The first known use of tenant was in the 14th century

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Statistics for tenant

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tenant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenant. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for tenant

tenant

noun
How to pronounce tenant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tenant

: a person, business, group, etc., that pays to use another person's property : someone who rents or leases a house, apartment, etc., from a landlord

tenant

noun
ten·​ant | \ ˈte-nənt How to pronounce tenant (audio) \

Kids Definition of tenant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or business that rents property from its owner

tenant

verb
tenanted; tenanting

Kids Definition of tenant (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hold or live in as a renter

tenant

noun
ten·​ant | \ ˈte-nənt How to pronounce tenant (audio) \

Legal Definition of tenant

: one who holds or possesses property by any kind of right : one who holds a tenancy in property specifically : one who possesses property in exchange for payment of rent — see also lessee — compare tenancy

History and Etymology for tenant

Anglo-French, from Old French, from present participle of tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre

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Comments on tenant

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