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tenant

[ten-uh nt]
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noun
  1. a person or group that rents and occupies land, a house, an office, or the like, from another for a period of time; lessee.
  2. Law. a person who holds or possesses for a time lands, tenements, or personalty of another, usually for rent.
  3. an occupant or inhabitant of any place.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to hold or occupy as a tenant; dwell in; inhabit.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to dwell or live (usually followed by in).
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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 formsten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveten·ant·less, adjectiveten·ant·like, adjectivenon·ten·ant, nounnon·ten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveun·ten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveun·ten·ant·ed, adjective
Can be confusedtenant tenet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tenantless

Historical Examples

  • At that time there were no desks in front of these back benches, which were tenantless.

    The Strand Magazine, Volume V, Issue 25, January 1893

    Various

  • In a few minutes his house was tenantless, having been overwhelmed with shot.

  • The Ship Island region was as woodsy and tenantless as ever.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • This was the tragedy that had kept the old house for so many years tenantless.

  • But the other rooms on her floor were dismantled and tenantless.

    The Invader

    Margaret L. Woods


British Dictionary definitions for tenantless

tenant

noun
  1. a person who holds, occupies, or possesses land or property by any kind of right or title, esp from a landlord under a lease
  2. a person who has the use of a house, flat, etc, subject to the payment of rent
  3. any holder or occupant
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verb
  1. (tr) to hold (land or property) as a tenant
  2. (intr foll by in) rare to dwell
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Derived Formstenantable, adjectivetenantless, adjectivetenant-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

Word Origin and History for tenantless

tenant

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper