Definition of demesne in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈmeɪn/
Pronunciation: /dɪˈmiːn/


1A piece of land attached to a manor and retained by the owner for their own use: because labour was cheap, there were ample advantages in cultivating the demesne
More example sentences
  • Where the lord of the manor had a demesne farm, the court appointed a reeve to supervise the farming activities, using labour services and collecting rents.
  • The demesne was cultivated directly under the supervision of the landlord or his agents, by the tenants, who owed labour-service as part of their rent.
  • In English Ireland they were associated with the reorganization of the land into manors with demesne land and dependent tenants, based to some extent on English models.
1.1The lands of an estate: a levy of one tenth on property in the royal demesne
More example sentences
  • The society has had a considerable input into the various road plans and bypasses where they affect historic properties or important demesnes.
  • The amiable and insolvent owner of the 300-acre estate died after being ambushed near his demesne.
  • All kings drew resources from demesne estates and received regular food-rents, services, and payments in money or kind.
1.2 archaic A region or domain: she may one day queen it over that fair demesne
2 [mass noun] Law Possession of real property in one’s own right.
Example sentences
  • Foreigners are deprived of the first one - the right of demesne, which points who is the owner of any property, and is the basic and most important property right.


held in demesne

Law , historical (Of an estate) occupied by the owner, not by tenants.
Example sentences
  • In terms of tenancy, nine estates were held in demesne (that is, were worked by the tenant-in-chief) and nine had a single sub-tenant.
  • Efficiency was influenced by whether an estate was held in demesne by the tenant-in-chief (estates being held in demesne tended to be more efficient) and who the tenant-in-chief was.


Middle English: from Old French demeine (later Anglo-Norman French demesne) 'belonging to a lord', from Latin dominicus, from dominus 'lord, master'. Compare with domain.

Words that rhyme with demesne

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For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de|mesne

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