from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that pays rent to use or occupy land, a building, or other property owned by another.
  • n. A dweller in a place; an occupant.
  • n. Law One who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or sometimes personal property by any kind of title.
  • transitive v. To hold as a tenant or be a tenant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who pays a fee (rent) in return for the use of land, buildings, or other property owned by others.
  • v. To hold as, or be, a tenant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who holds or possesses lands, or other real estate, by any kind of right, whether in fee simple, in common, in severalty, for life, for years, or at will; also, one who has the occupation or temporary possession of lands or tenements the title of which is in another; -- correlative to landlord. See Citation from Blackstone, under tenement, 2.
  • n. One who has possession of any place; a dweller; an occupant.
  • transitive v. To hold, occupy, or possess as a tenant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hold or possess as a tenant; occupy.
  • To let out to tenants.
  • To live as a tenant; dwell.
  • A corruption of tenon.
  • n. In law: A person who holds real property by private ownership, by any kind of title, either in fee, for life, for years, or at will.
  • n. More specifically, one who holds under a superior owner, as a lessee or occupant for rent: used thus as correlative to landlord.
  • n. A defendant in a real action. See action, 8 .
  • n. One who has possession of anyplace; a dweller; an occupant.
  • n. In heraldry, same as supporter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. occupy as a tenant
  • n. someone who pays rent to use land or a building or a car that is owned by someone else
  • n. a holder of buildings or lands by any kind of title (as ownership or lease)
  • n. any occupant who dwells in a place


Middle English, from Old French, from present participle of tenir, to hold, from Latin tenēre; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested 1325, from Anglo-Norman tenaunt, from Old French tenant, present participle of tenir ("to hold"), from Latin tenēre, present active infinitive of teneō ("hold, keep"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.