tenant

noun
ten·ant | \ˈte-nənt \

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 \ adjective

Verb

tenantable \ˈte-nən-tə-bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tenant

Synonyms: Noun

denizen, dweller, habitant, inhabitant, inhabiter, occupant, resident, resider

Antonyms: Noun

transient

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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

Current tenants will have rent increases phased in. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Waiting List Open For Southington Housing Authority Apartments," 13 July 2018 Its American division was driven to bankruptcy when the tech bubble burst, and the firm was left with lots of rent to pay and too few tenants to cover outgoings. The Economist, "Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork," 12 July 2018 Commercial tenants have formed a growing base at Colt since the first company — insurance software and service provider Insurity Inc. — moved into the complex in 2004. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Renovations Begin In Last Major Structure At Hartford's Colt Complex," 11 July 2018 For Preston, what’s changed in California and elsewhere is that tenants and activists have simply had enough. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rent control and tenants’ rights set to be larger political issues in 2018 elections," 11 July 2018 The leases could be signed within 30 days, with the tenants opening for business by January, said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the authority. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "Philz Coffee, gym could open in new SF transit center," 9 July 2018 The insurer hasn’t been a tenant at the building in many years. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "Former John Hancock Center is getting a new owner: Sterling Bay," 12 July 2018 Video provided by Shayne Holland For the past 17 months, Shayne Holland has enjoyed being a tenant at the River Crossing at Keystone apartment complex on the northside of Indianapolis. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "A video showing alleged racial profiling in Indianapolis went viral. This is the fallout.," 11 July 2018 The filing asserted that McCoy is the owner of the property and that Cordon is a tenant. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Potential Legal Ramifications of the Disturbing Accusations Against LeSean McCoy," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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, from Anglo-French, from present participle of tenir to hold

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Phrases Related to tenant

sitting tenant

Statistics for tenant

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tenant

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

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More Definitions for tenant

tenant

noun

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 \

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 \

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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