from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An English system of land tenure from Anglo-Saxon times to 1926 that provided for the equal division of land among all qualified heirs.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a system of inheritance associated with the county of Kent in England whereby, at the death of a tenant, intestate estate is divided equally among all his sons; also, a similar system employed in Ireland
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A tenure by which land descended from the father to all his sons in equal portions, and the land of a brother, dying without issue, descended equally to his brothers. It still prevails in the county of Kent.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Originally, in old English law, the tenure of land let out for rent, including in that term money, labor, and provisions, but not military service; also, the land so held.
- n. Hence In general use, land in Great Britain or Ireland, or an estate therein, which by custom having the force of law is inheritable by all the sons together, and therefore subject to partition, instead of going exclusively to the eldest.
Middle English gavelkinde : Old English gafol, gavel; see gavel2 + Old English gecynd, kind; see kind2.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)