1 of 2


: an estate in land held in feudal law from a lord on condition of homage and service
: a piece of land so held
: an inherited or heritable estate in land
: a fixed charge
: a sum paid or charged for a service


2 of 2


feed; feeing

transitive verb

chiefly Scotland : hire
in fee
: in absolute and legal possession

Examples of fee in a Sentence

Noun The admission fee is $10. a credit card with no annual fee The tuition fees went up this year. We returned the library book late and had to pay a late fee. His insurance covers the doctor's fee. They paid a fortune in legal fees. Verb the townspeople fee country lasses as housemaids, nurses, and cooks See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The prospective client paid the $1 million upfront fee, but never received the loan funds as promised, according to the complaint. Natallie Rocha, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Nov. 2023 The Biden administration pushed to save homeowners thousands of dollars in closing costs on certain mortgages, part of a broad effort to slash fees and save Americans money. Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2023 Epic Games, which is known for furnishing the world with the popular game Fortnite, has been battling Google since way back in 2020 over the 30% fee the search giant charges app developers for purchases made on its Play Store on Android devices. Elias Leight, Billboard, 22 Nov. 2023 This can easily be done online by joining the nonprofit Foster Care to Success, and Alliant will pay the $5 one-time fee. Kerri Anne Renzulli, wsj.com, 22 Nov. 2023 Venues often rely on those ancillary fees to help cover their costs. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 20 Nov. 2023 Also substantial: the shipping and handling fees for such a hefty object and the long lead time before this item will ship. Kristina McGuirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Nov. 2023 The industry last year collected more than $6.7 billion in baggage fees, according to the Department of Transportation. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2023 Of course, skyrocketing share prices had to be balanced against the cost of originals plus licensing fees for its movies, amounting to a $58 million negative cash flow in 2012. Peter Biskind, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fee.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French fé, fief, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English feoh cattle, property, Old High German fihu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle, pecunia money

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fee was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fee

Cite this Entry

“Fee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fee. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a set charge
admission fee
license fee
: a charge for a professional service
a doctor's fees

Legal Definition


: an inheritable freehold estate in real property
especially : fee simple compare leasehold, life estate at estate
absolute fee
: a fee granted with no restrictions or limitations on alienability : fee simple absolute at fee simple
conditional fee
: a fee that is subject to a condition: as
a : fee simple conditional at fee simple
defeasible fee
: a fee that is subject to terminating or being terminated
determinable fee
: a defeasible fee that terminates automatically upon the occurrence of a specified event : fee simple determinable at fee simple
fee patent
: a fee simple absolute that is granted by a patent from the U.S. government
also : a patent that grants a fee simple absolute
the land shall have the same status as though such fee patent had never been issued U.S. Code

Note: Allotments of parcels of land in reservations are held in private ownership by fee patents.

fee tail
: a fee which is granted to an individual and to that individual's descendants, which is subject to a reversion or a remainder if a tenant in tail dies with no lineal descendants, and which is not freely alienable see also entail entry 1, De Donis Conditionalibus compare fee simple conditional at fee simple

Note: The fee tail developed out of the fee simple conditional as a means to ensure that property would remain intact and in the family. Instead of giving the grantee a fee simple absolute once he or she has a child, which the grantee could then alienate (as by selling), the fee tail creates a future interest in the descendants which prevents the grantee and the descendants from alienating the property. A fee tail is created by a conveyance to the grantee and to the heirs of the grantee's body. In most jurisdictions, the fee tail is not recognized.

: a fixed amount or percentage charged
especially : a sum paid or charged for a service
attorney fees
contingency fee
: a fee for the services of a lawyer paid upon successful completion of the services and usually calculated as a percentage of the gain obtained for the client

called also contingency, contingent fee

compare champerty, maintenance
filing fee
: a fee charged for the filing of a document

Note: Filing fees are ordinarily charged in civil matters with the filing of the complaint.

jury fee
: a fee that is assessed in some courts as part of the cost of a civil jury trial
origination fee
: a fee charged by a lender for the preparation and processing of a loan


Middle English, fief, from Old French , fief, ultimately from a Germanic word akin to Old High German fehu cattle

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