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

That has led to complaints that renters, public housing tenants, and tourists have nowhere to legally use a legal product. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston firm offers marijuana-friendly lodging," 11 July 2018 Philadelphia does not have a policy that explicitly states who is responsible for bedbug infestations between landlords and tenants. Julia Terruso, Philly.com, "What to know about bedbug prevention, treatment," 5 July 2018 The effort, led by tenants rights groups and bankrolled by Los Angeles HIV/AIDS activist Michael Weinstein, qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot in June. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Could rent control be coming to San Diego?," 3 July 2018 Rat control has become particularly challenging in this neighborhood in recent years, so the city’s health department hosted a two-hour session designed to educate building owners and tenants on how to handle the pervasive rodents. Lara Korte, WSJ, "New York’s Rat Academy: Come for the Vent Session, Stay for the Rat Animation," 27 June 2018 But research has found that many tenants and landlords skirt the law and rent entire apartments for short amounts of time without being there. New York Times, "To Curb Illegal Airbnbs, New York City Wants to Collect Data on Hosts," 26 June 2018 The firm has been promised subsidies by the city and the state of Michigan, and has already received a few calls from potential tenants. The Economist, "Ford has ambitious plans for Detroit’s most beautiful ruin," 21 June 2018 There are outdoor terraces on the 17th, 60th, and 76th floors including an outdoor deck that will be shared by all the building's tenants. Karen Matthews, The Christian Science Monitor, "Three World Trade Center marks important step in site's rebuilding," 11 June 2018 The still unfinished 2 World Trade Center, immediately north of the transportation hub, is awaiting an anchor tenant and financing before it can be built beyond a stump. Karen Matthews, USA TODAY, "New World Trade Center to open after years of delays," 10 June 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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Statistics for tenant

Last Updated

11 Nov 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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Comments on tenant

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