mortmain

[ mawrt-meyn ]
/ ˈmɔrtˌmeɪn /
|

noun Law.

the condition of lands or tenements held without right of alienation, as by an ecclesiastical corporation; inalienable ownership.
the perpetual holding of land, especially by a corporation or charitable trust.

Origin of mortmain

1250–1300; Middle English mort(e)mayn(e) < Anglo-French mortemain, translation of Medieval Latin mortua manus dead hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mortmain

British Dictionary definitions for mortmain

mortmain

/ (ˈmɔːtˌmeɪn) /

noun

law the state or condition of lands, buildings, etc, held inalienably, as by an ecclesiastical or other corporation

Word Origin for mortmain

C15: from Old French mortemain, from Medieval Latin mortua manus dead hand, inalienable ownership
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 mortmain

mortmain


n.

"inalienable ownership," mid-15c., from Anglo-French morte mayn, Old French mortemain, literally "dead hand," from Medieval Latin mortua manus; see mortal (adj.) + manual (adj.). Probably a metaphorical expression.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper