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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for untenanted
Historical Examples
  • From the knoll where he stood he could see every inch of that hollow and it was untenanted.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • It had been untenanted for a good while and was in rather bad repair.

    Mary-'Gusta Joseph C. Lincoln
  • All he craved was the country, and a whole lot of it, with untenanted roads.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • The Heathcotes had gone to Rome for the winter, and the Villa was shut up and untenanted.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • The trolley-car that met his train was rusty, paintless, forlorn, untenanted.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • The old man led them to a building which had served as a stable, but which was then untenanted.

    No Surrender! G. A. Henty
  • It can't be possible that we have come ashore on an untenanted island?

    Madge Morton's Secret

    Amy D. V. Chalmers
  • Since their arrival in the parish the splendid Jacobean Hall had been untenanted.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • He passed them, and entered the dining-room, which was untenanted.

    The Champdoce Mystery Emile Gaboriau
  • The two, with their mules, form a tableau in front of the untenanted dwelling.

    The Lone Ranche Captain Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for untenanted


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 untenanted

1670s, from un- (1) "not" + tenanted (see tenant).



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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