Fee-tail



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)

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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