1. a payment made periodically by a tenant to a landlord in return for the use of land, a building, an apartment, an office, or other property.
  2. a payment or series of payments made by a lessee to an owner in return for the use of machinery, equipment, etc.
  3. Economics. the excess of the produce or return yielded by a given piece of cultivated land over the cost of production; the yield from a piece of land or real estate.
  4. profit or return derived from any differential advantage in production.
  5. Obsolete. revenue or income.
verb (used with object)
  1. to grant the possession and enjoyment of (property, machinery, etc.) in return for the payment of rent from the tenant or lessee. (often followed by out).
  2. to take and hold (property, machinery, etc.) in return for the payment of rent to the landlord or owner.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be leased or let for rent: This apartment rents cheaply.
  2. to lease or let property.
  3. to take possession of and use property by paying rent: She rents from a friend.
  1. for rent, available to be rented, as a home or store: an apartment for rent.

Origin of rent

1125–75; (noun) Middle English rente < Old French < Vulgar Latin *rendita, feminine past participle of *rendere (see render1); (v.) Middle English renten < Old French renter, derivative of rente
Related formsrent·a·bil·i·ty, nounrent·a·ble, adjectiveun·rent·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for rent

7. lease, let. See hire. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for rentability


  1. a payment made periodically by a tenant to a landlord or owner for the occupation or use of land, buildings, or by a user for the use of other property, such as a telephone
  2. economics
    1. that portion of the national income accruing to owners of land and real property
    2. the return derived from the cultivation of land in excess of production costs
    3. See economic rent
  3. for rent mainly US and Canadian available for use and occupation subject to the payment of rent
  1. (tr) to grant (a person) the right to use one's property in return for periodic payments
  2. (tr) to occupy or use (property) in return for periodic payments
  3. (intr often foll by at) to be let or rented (for a specified rental)
Derived Formsrentability, nounrentable, adjective

Word Origin for rent

C12: from Old French rente revenue, from Vulgar Latin rendere (unattested) to yield; see render


  1. a slit or opening made by tearing or rending; tear
  2. a breach or division, as in relations
  1. the past tense and past participle of rend
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 rentability



"payment for use of property," mid-12c., a legal sense, originally "income, revenue" (late Old English), from Old French rente "payment due; profit, income," from Vulgar Latin *rendita, noun use of fem. past participle of rendere "to render" (see render (v.)).



"torn place," 1530s, noun use of Middle English renten "to tear, rend" (early 14c.), variant of renden (see rend (v.)).



mid-15c., "to rent out property, grant possession and enjoyment of in exchange for a consideration paid," from Old French renter "pay dues to," or from rent (n.1). Related: Rented; renting. Earlier (mid-14c.) in the more general sense of "provide with revenue." Sense of "to take and hold in exchange for rent" is from 1520s. Intransitive sense of "be leased for rent" is from 1784. Prefix rent-a- first attested 1921, mainly of businesses that rented various makes of car (Rentacar is a trademark registered in U.S. 1924); extended to other "temporary" uses since 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper