Fee-simple



noun
1.
See under (def 4a).
[fee] /fi/
noun
1.
a charge or payment for professional services:
a doctor’s fee.
2.
a sum paid or charged for a privilege:
an admission fee.
3.
a charge allowed by law for the service of a public officer.
4.
Law.

5.
a gratuity; tip.
verb (used with object), feed, feeing.
6.
to give a fee to.
7.
Chiefly Scot. to hire; employ.
/fiː/
noun
1.
a payment asked by professional people or public servants for their services: a doctor’s fee, school fees
2.
a charge made for a privilege: an entrance fee
3.
(property law)

4.
(in feudal Europe) the land granted by a lord to his vassal
5.
an obsolete word for a gratuity
6.
in fee

verb fees, feeing, feed
7.
(rare) to give a fee to
8.
(mainly Scot) to hire for a fee
noun
1.
(property law) an absolute interest in land over which the holder has complete freedom of disposition during his life Compare fee tail
n.

late 13c., from Old French fieu, fief “fief, possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment,” from Medieval Latin feodum “land or other property whose use is granted in return for service,” widely said to be from Frankish *fehu-od “payment-estate,” or a similar Germanic compound, in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh “money, movable property, cattle” (also German Vieh “cattle,” Gothic faihu “money, fortune”), from PIE *peku- “cattle” (cf. Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus “cattle;” Latin pecu “cattle,” pecunia “money, property”); second element similar to Old English ead “wealth.”

OED rejects this, and suggests a simple adaptation of Germanic fehu, leaving the Medieval Latin -d- unexplained. Sense of “payment for services” first recorded late 14c. Fee-simple is “absolute ownership,” as opposed to fee-tail “entailed ownership,” inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir “to cut, to limit”).

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