• synonyms


[gav-uh l-kahynd]
noun English Law.
  1. (originally) a tenure of land in which the tenant was liable for a rental in money or produce rather than for labor or military service.
  2. a customary system of land tenure whose chief feature was equal division of land among the heirs of the holder.
  3. the land so held.
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Origin of gavelkind

1175–1225; Middle English gavelkinde, gavlikind, Old English gafel gavel2 + (ge)cynd kind2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gavelkind

Historical Examples of gavelkind

  • Their tenures were the gavelkind once prevalent over most of the world.

    Thomas Davis, Selections from his Prose and Poetry

    Thomas Davis

  • The tenure of Gavelkind prevails principally in the County of Kent.

    Legal Lore


  • Gavelkind may be derived from gabel, a fork or branch, and the word is used in Ireland as well as in Kent.

  • Ordinarily in gavelkind, property was kept in male hands, descending from father to son.

    Woman, Church & State

    Matilda Joslyn Gage

  • This is, in other words, a history of the Gavelkind, and other remarkable customs of the County of Kent.

British Dictionary definitions for gavelkind


  1. a former system of land tenure peculiar to Kent based on the payment of rent to the lord instead of the performance of services by the tenant
  2. the land subject to such tenure
  3. English law (formerly) land held under this system
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Word Origin for gavelkind

C13: from Old English gafol tribute + gecynd kind ²
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