ten·​e·​ment | \ ˈte-nə-mənt How to pronounce tenement (audio) \

Definition of tenement

c : a house used as a dwelling : residence
2 : any of various forms of corporeal property (such as land) or incorporeal property that is held by one person from another
3 : dwelling

Synonyms for tenement


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Examples of tenement in a Sentence

an exhibit of pictures showing the tenements of the New York City neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen during the 1920s
Recent Examples on the Web The home, which was once owned by Revere and sold in 1800, served as everything from a boarding house to a local shop to tenement apartments. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 26 Nov. 2021 Occupying the ground floor of a small tenement building, the store, Ellen, is about the size of a master bath in a fancy apartment. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2021 Rogers was born in a tenement on Second Street in Cincinnati in 1911, where Riverfront Stadium was later constructed. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 13 Oct. 2021 Minoru Yamasaki, known to nearly everyone who knew him as Yama, was born on December 1, 1912, in a cold-water tenement overlooking Puget Sound. Justin Beal, Curbed, 11 Sep. 2021 Its skyline, its yellow cabs, its brownstones and tenement walkups—all have been beamed around the world via countless movies and television shows. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 In other words, homeless encampment fire patterns map pretty closely onto the tenement fires Davis examined in The Case for Letting Malibu Burn. Piper French, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2021 Sloan showed how tenement dwellers escaped stifling apartments by sleeping on tarpaper rooftops. Steven Litt, cleveland, 29 Aug. 2021 How the building functions will be monitored by researchers, with data used to inform future tenement upgrades. Sonia Elks, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tenement

Middle English, "the holding of property, the property so held, building, dwelling," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin tenementum, tenimentum, teneamentum, from Latin tenēre "to hold, occupy, possess" + -mentum -ment — more at tenant entry 1

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

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Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tenement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenement. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for tenement



English Language Learners Definition of tenement

: a large building that has apartments or rooms for rent and that is usually in a poorer part of a city


ten·​e·​ment | \ ˈte-nə-mənt How to pronounce tenement (audio) \

Kids Definition of tenement

: a building divided into separate apartments for rent


ten·​e·​ment | \ ˈte-nə-mənt How to pronounce tenement (audio) \

Legal Definition of tenement

1a : any of various forms of property (as land) that is held by one person from another
b : an estate in property
2 : dwelling

History and Etymology for tenement

Anglo-French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin tenementum, from Latin tenēre to hold

More from Merriam-Webster on tenement

Nglish: Translation of tenement for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tenement for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tenement


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