Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Law An estate held in fee or for life.
  • n. Law The tenure by which such an estate is held.
  • n. A tenure of an office or a dignity for life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The tenure of property held in fee simple for life.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An estate in real property, of inheritance (in fee simple or fee tail) or for life; or the tenure by which such estate is held.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In law: Originally, in England, an estate in land in possession held by a freeman; a free socage or feudal estate; now, an estate in fee simple or fee tail, or for life, as opposed to copyhold. See the extract.
  • n. Hence, in general, an estate in land such as was originally considered as being an ownership of the soil itself, as distinguished from a mere use or chattel interest in it.
  • n. A parcel of land held by either of the tenures above described.
  • n. Figuratively, any free or unrestricted possession, or right of possession; that which belongs to one absolutely.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an estate held in fee simple or for life
  • n. tenure by which land is held in fee simple or for life

Etymologies

Middle English frehold, translation of Anglo-Norman fraunc tenement : fraunc, free + tenement, possession.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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