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[ten-uh nt] /ˈtɛn ənt/
a person or group that rents and occupies land, a house, an office, or the like, from another for a period of time; lessee.
Law. a person who holds or possesses for a time lands, tenements, or personalty of another, usually for rent.
an occupant or inhabitant of any place.
verb (used with object)
to hold or occupy as a tenant; dwell in; inhabit.
verb (used without object)
to dwell or live (usually followed by in).
Origin of tenant
1250-1300; Middle English tena(u)nt < Anglo-French; Middle French tenant, noun use of present participle of tenir to hold ≪ Latin tenēre. See -ant
Related forms
tenantable, adjective
tenantless, adjective
tenantlike, adjective
nontenant, noun
nontenantable, adjective
untenantable, adjective
untenanted, adjective
Can be confused
tenant, tenet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tenanted
Historical Examples
  • They are barren, till the imagination has tenanted them with possibilities of danger and dismay.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • The shores of its creeks and fens are tenanted by minks and muskrats.

  • The library was tenanted by Cousin Percy, who was taking a nap on the lounge.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • There was a mean suburb in front of our position, tenanted solely by Egyptians.

  • Gilian realised that his imagination, and his imagination only, had tenanted the pew.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
  • It was often surmised that this ample region must be tenanted by some other planet.

    The Story of the Heavens Robert Stawell Ball
  • It was now tenanted by one too young, too pure, to fear aught unearthly.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • These were tenanted by young men in every stage of suffering and exhaustion.

    In the Track of the Troops R.M. Ballantyne
  • It was tenanted and enjoyed by countless numbers of living creatures.

    The Pioneers R.M. Ballantyne
  • At the time of these alterations, the house was tenanted by a shoemaker.

British Dictionary definitions for tenanted


a person who holds, occupies, or possesses land or property by any kind of right or title, esp from a landlord under a lease
a person who has the use of a house, flat, etc, subject to the payment of rent
any holder or occupant
(transitive) to hold (land or property) as a tenant
(rare) (intransitive) foll by in. to dwell
Derived Forms
tenantable, adjective
tenantless, adjective
tenant-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, literally: (one who is) holding, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre
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
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Word Origin and History for tenanted



early 14c., "person who holds lands by title or by lease," from Anglo-French tenaunt (late 13c.), Old French tenant (12c.), noun use of present participle of tenir "to hold," from Latin tenere "hold, keep" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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