usu·​fruct | \ ˈyü-zə-ˌfrəkt How to pronounce usufruct (audio) , -sə- How to pronounce usufruct (audio) \

Definition of usufruct

1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another
2 : the right to use or enjoy something

Usufruct and Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said, "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." He apparently understood that when you hold something in usufruct, you gain something of significant value, but only temporarily. The gains granted by usufruct can be clearly seen in the Latin phrase from which the word developed, usus et fructus, which means "use and enjoyment." Latin speakers condensed that phrase to ususfructus, the term English speakers used as the model for our modern word. Usufruct has been used as a noun for the legal right to use something since the mid-1600s. Any right granted by usufruct ends at a specific point, usually the death of the individual who holds it.

Examples of usufruct in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Neither of the Parties in any form can hinder, by arbitrary and discriminatory means, the administration, operation, maintenance, use, usufruct, acquisition, expansion or divestiture of investments made by nationals or companies of the other Party. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'usufruct.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of usufruct

circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for usufruct

Latin ususfructus, from usus et fructus use and enjoyment

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The first known use of usufruct was circa 1630

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Cite this Entry

“Usufruct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for usufruct


usu·​fruct | \ ˈyü-zə-ˌfrəkt, -sə- How to pronounce usufruct (audio) \

Legal Definition of usufruct

: the right to the use and enjoyment of another's property and its profits a usufruct in the crops of the estate especially, in the civil law of Louisiana : a personal servitude of limited duration that confers the right of use and full enjoyment of another's property and its fruits

Note: Under the civil law of Louisiana, one having a usufruct in land must deliver it to the owner with its basic substance undiminished at the end of the term; one having a usufruct in consumables acquires ownership of them, but must return their value or things of the same quantity or quality at the end of the usufruct.

History and Etymology for usufruct

Latin ususfructus from usus et fructus, literally, use and enjoyment

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