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[hed-rahyt] /ˈhɛdˌraɪt/
Law. a beneficial interest for each member of an Indian tribe in the tribal trust fund accruing from the lease of tribal oil, gas, and mineral rights, the sale of tribal lands, etc.
American History. a grant of land, usually 50 acres to a settler, given by certain colonies and companies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Origin of headright
An Americanism dating back to 1695-1705; head + right Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for headright
Historical Examples
  • The meaning of "headright" was that any person who paid his own way to Virginia would receive 50 acres of land.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
  • Governors under the company issued patents based on the headright until dissolution by the crown in 1624.

    Mother Earth W. Stitt Robinson, Jr.
  • This headright system was later adopted in other colonies and continued in use for generations.

  • Therefore, all persons so listed under the headright claim cannot be considered indentured servants.

    Mother Earth W. Stitt Robinson, Jr.
  • One of these grants by Governor Wyatt is the earliest extant form of the headright franchise.

    Mother Earth W. Stitt Robinson, Jr.
  • It is not conclusively proved, then, that a certain person came as a servant merely because he is listed as a headright.

    The Planters of Colonial Virginia Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Contemporary definitions for headright

a system of obtaining land in colonial times in which one received fifty acres of land for every emigrant to America one sponsored

Word Origin

right to land for bringing over a head 'person''s 21st Century Lexicon
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