- a charge or payment for professional services: a doctor's fee.
- a sum paid or charged for a privilege: an admission fee.
- a charge allowed by law for the service of a public officer.
- an estate of inheritance in land, either absolute and without limitation to any particular class of heirs(fee simple) or limited to a particular class of heirs (fee tail).
- an inheritable estate in land held of a feudal lord on condition of the performing of certain services.
- a territory held in fee.
- a gratuity; tip.
- to give a fee to.
- Chiefly Scot. to hire; employ.
Origin of fee
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a payment asked by professional people or public servants for their servicesa doctor's fee; school fees
- a charge made for a privilegean entrance fee
- property law
- (in feudal Europe) the land granted by a lord to his vassal
- an obsolete word for a gratuity
- in fee
- law(of land) in absolute ownership
- archaicin complete subjection
- rare to give a fee to
- mainly Scot to hire for a fee
Word Origin and History for fee's
late 13c., from Old French fieu, fief "fief, possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment," from Medieval Latin feodum "land or other property whose use is granted in return for service," widely said to be from Frankish *fehu-od "payment-estate," or a similar Germanic compound, in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh "money, movable property, cattle" (also German Vieh "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune"), from PIE *peku- "cattle" (cf. Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus "cattle;" Latin pecu "cattle," pecunia "money, property"); second element similar to Old English ead "wealth."
OED rejects this, and suggests a simple adaptation of Germanic fehu, leaving the Medieval Latin -d- unexplained. Sense of "payment for services" first recorded late 14c. Fee-simple is "absolute ownership," as opposed to fee-tail "entailed ownership," inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir "to cut, to limit").