[dih-meyn, -meen]
See more synonyms for demesne on
  1. possession of land as one's own: land held in demesne.
  2. an estate or part of an estate occupied and controlled by, and worked for the exclusive use of, the owner.
  3. land belonging to and adjoining a manor house; estate.
  4. the dominion or territory of a sovereign or state; domain.
  5. a district; region.

Origin of demesne

1250–1300; Middle English demeine < Anglo-French demesne, Old French demein; see domain
Related formsde·mesn·i·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demesne

Historical Examples of demesne

  • He lived by himself with his niece Albine in an old house on the border of the demesne.

    A Zola Dictionary

    J. G. Patterson

  • I of course could not resist such temptation, and entered the demesne.

  • I speculated what demesne this might be, and I realized that it was probably Lavedan.

  • This child was the daughter of some custodian of the demesne before me.

  • Thereafter it was his purpose to take his bride home to his Sicilian demesne.

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for demesne


  1. land, esp surrounding a house or manor, retained by the owner for his own use
  2. property law the possession and use of one's own property or land
  3. the territory ruled by a state or a sovereign; realm; domain
  4. a region or district; domain

Word Origin for demesne

C14: from Old French demeine; see domain
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 demesne

c.1300, demeyne (modern spelling by late 15c.), from Anglo-French demesne, demeine, Old French demaine "land held for a lord's own use," from Latin dominicus "belonging to a master," from dominus "lord." Re-spelled by Anglo-French legal scribes under influence of Old French mesnie "household" (and the concept of a demesne as "land attached to a mansion") and their fondness for inserting -s- before -n-. Essentially the same word as domain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper