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

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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 Amid early morning’s orange light and purple shadows, anthropomorphic vehicles get to work dismantling what appears to be an old brick tenement. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: A Sequel to ‘Guess How Much I Love You’," 25 Sep. 2020 Its tenement buildings made for invaluable gang turf, and shootouts for control were nonstop. ProPublica, "Over a Dozen Black and Latino Men Accused a Cop of Humiliating, Invasive Strip Searches. The NYPD Kept Promoting Him.," 10 Sep. 2020 Those in tenement housing did not have their own facilities, but had 25 to 30 people sharing a single outhouse. Katherine A. Foss, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Epidemics of the Past Changed the Way Americans Lived," 1 Apr. 2020 These [New Delhi] neighborhoods are some of the most densely populated parts of the world — endless blocks of tenement apartments squeezed really close to each other, with narrow lanes between them. Patrick J. Lyons, New York Times, "Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today," 26 Mar. 2020 In March, the cousins began to worry about how to adapt the cramped, tenement-style store to the demands of social distancing. The New Yorker, "at the epicenter of the pandemic.," 27 Apr. 2020 The former townhouse offers a fascinating look at the hardships of Dublin tenement life. Rick Steves, USA TODAY, "Going to Ireland in 2020? Here's what you need to know before you go," 19 Feb. 2020 Embodying these rugged, cowboy archetypes, Williams frequented the back alleys and tenements of New York City, never hesitating and never missing a shot. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "When confronting the coronavirus, tough isn’t enough," 1 Apr. 2020 On June 2, 1900, a Census worker named David Honeyman came knocking on doors at 165 Ludlow Street, a crowded tenement building on New York City’s Lower East Side, charged with extracting 28 pieces of demographic data from each household. Jennifer Mendelsohn, Time, "The Census Is More Than Just a Form. It's a Window Into the History of American Families," 13 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tenement

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tenement

Last Updated

29 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for tenement


How to pronounce tenement (audio)

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

History and Etymology for tenement

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

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