EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN 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
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for mortmain Historical Examples of mortmain British Dictionary definitions for mortmain 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
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Word Origin and History for 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