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tenant

[ten-uh nt]
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noun
  1. a person or group that rents and occupies land, a house, an office, or the like, from another for a period of time; lessee.
  2. Law. a person who holds or possesses for a time lands, tenements, or personalty of another, usually for rent.
  3. an occupant or inhabitant of any place.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to hold or occupy as a tenant; dwell in; inhabit.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to dwell or live (usually followed by in).
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Origin of tenant

1250–1300; Middle English tena(u)nt < Anglo-French; Middle French tenant, noun use of present participle of tenir to hold ≪ Latin tenēre. See -ant
Related formsten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveten·ant·less, adjectiveten·ant·like, adjectivenon·ten·ant, nounnon·ten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveun·ten·ant·a·ble, adjectiveun·ten·ant·ed, adjective
Can be confusedtenant tenet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tenant

tenant

noun
  1. a person who holds, occupies, or possesses land or property by any kind of right or title, esp from a landlord under a lease
  2. a person who has the use of a house, flat, etc, subject to the payment of rent
  3. any holder or occupant
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verb
  1. (tr) to hold (land or property) as a tenant
  2. (intr foll by in) rare to dwell
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Derived Formstenantable, adjectivetenantless, adjectivetenant-like, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French, literally: (one who is) holding, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre
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 tenant

n.

early 14c., "person who holds lands by title or by lease," from Anglo-French tenaunt (late 13c.), Old French tenant (12c.), noun use of present participle of tenir "to hold," from Latin tenere "hold, keep" (see tenet).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper