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 Anthony Fritsche of Fritsche Anderson represented the tenant. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Real estate transactions: NAI Investment Fund makes 16-building acquisition in Stafford," 22 May 2020 Landlords and lenders are asked to work with tenants and owners on past due payments. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "Holcomb extends moratorium on evictions, utility shutoffs — but gives an expiration date," 21 May 2020 The result is persistent rises in rent, cutting back on repairs and other maintenance, ramping up fees, and casually evicting tenants who cannot keep up. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, "Cancel the Rent," 12 May 2020 Funding should be increased to allow states to expand rental assistance for all tenants. Paula Magee, STAT, "Child abuse is one of many unseen harms from shutting down America’s schools," 7 May 2020 And Saturday Night Live star Michael Che — whose grandmother died earlier this month due to coronavirus complications — vowed to pay rent for public housing tenants in her building as a tribute. Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter, "Feel Good Friday: How Stars Are Spreading Positivity During Coronavirus Pandemic," 17 Apr. 2020 The move comes after tenant advocates called for the ban, warning of the dangers of people losing their homes amid the coronavirus outbreak. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As Wisconsin's coronavirus outbreak worsens, Gov. Tony Evers announces a statewide ban on evictions and foreclosures," 27 Mar. 2020 The Center for Vein Restoration is expanding to Mobile and have leased 2,700 square feet of office space at 32 Tacon St., in Mobile, according to Brandon Broadus of NAI Mobile, who represented the tenant. Kathy Jumper, al, "New Bunny Bread hopping to town," 15 Mar. 2020 That way the owners can live in one unit while renting the other units to tenants. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, "What Is House Hacking? A Guide to the Latest Money-Saving Trend in Real Estate," 24 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tenant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenant. Accessed 3 Jun. 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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