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[ton-teen, ton-teen]
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  1. an annuity scheme in which subscribers share a common fund with the benefit of survivorship, the survivors' shares being increased as the subscribers die, until the whole goes to the last survivor.
  2. the annuity shared.
  3. the share of each subscriber.
  4. the number of subscribers.
  5. any of various forms of life insurance in which the chief beneficiaries are those whose policies are in force at the end of a specified period (tontine period).
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Origin of tontine

1755–65; < French; named after Lorenzo Tonti, Neapolitan banker who started the scheme in France about 1653. See -ine1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tontine


    1. an annuity scheme by which several subscribers accumulate and invest a common fund out of which they receive an annuity that increases as subscribers die until the last survivor takes the whole
    2. the subscribers to such a scheme collectively
    3. the share of each subscriber
    4. the common fund accumulated
    5. (as modifier)a tontine fund
  1. a system of mutual life assurance by which benefits are received by those participants who survive and maintain their policies throughout a stipulated period (the tontine period)
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Word Origin

C18: from French, named after Lorenzo Tonti, Neapolitan banker who devised the scheme
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 tontine

1765, from French tontine, named for Lorenzo Tonti, Neapolitan banker who in 1653 first proposed this method of raising money.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper