from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not having the right of alienating one's possessions in the event of dying childless, as serfs under the old feudal law of France; also, not subject to this right, as the possessions themselves.
  • noun A serf who, under the feudal law in France, did not have the right of alienating his possessions in the event of a childless death.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word mainmortable.


  • What follows is still better: An honest Parisian pays a visit to his parents in Burgundy and in Franche-Comté, resides a year and a day in a mainmortable house, and returning to Paris finds that his property, wherever situated, belongs to the lord, in case he dies without issue.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • I have seen the Chartreux in my neighborhood inherit a hundred thousand crowns from one of their mainmortable slaves, who had made a fortune by commerce at

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • But the most curious and most consolatory circumstance attendant on this jurisprudence is that the lords of half these mainmortable territories are monks.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • The mainmortable serfs of ecclesiastics are variously said to have been a million and a million and a half at the time of the Revolution.


  • In Bourbonnais the taille was formerly serf and the serfs mainmortable.

    The Ancient Regime

  • According to other customs, if the son of a mainmortable slave visits not the house of his father within a year and a day from his death, he loses all his father’s property, yet still remains a slave; that is to say, whatever wealth he may acquire by his industry, becomes at his death the property of the lord.

    A Philosophical Dictionary


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.