- the condition of lands or tenements held without right of alienation, as by an ecclesiastical corporation; inalienable ownership.
- the perpetual holding of land, especially by a corporation or charitable trust.
Origin of mortmain
1250–1300; Middle English mort(e)mayn(e) < Anglo-French mortemain, translation of Medieval Latin mortua manus dead hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mortmain
As some compensation, the Mortmain Act was suspended for twenty years.The Reign of Mary Tudor
W. Llewelyn Williams.
It was in his time that the famous Statute of Mortmain was passed.The Cathedral Church of Canterbury [2nd ed.].
Such is the parallel between the mortmain of the two corporations.Thirty Years' View (Vol. I of 2)
Thomas Hart Benton
He extended his hand, but Mortmain had thrust his own into his trousers' pockets.
Mortmain's anger had been followed by the reaction of despair.
- law the state or condition of lands, buildings, etc, held inalienably, as by an ecclesiastical or other corporation
C15: from Old French mortemain, from Medieval Latin mortua manus dead hand, inalienable ownership
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for mortmain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper