noun[mass noun] historical
A system of inheritance in which a deceased person’s land is divided equally among all male heirs.
- Only in Kent and in Wales did the custom of gavelkind produce the partible inheritance which reduced many noble families to penury on the continent.
- The redistribution by gavelkind on each occasion extended to the clan or sept - not beyond.
- The Irish gavelkind, it will be seen, is quite different from the gavelkind customary in the county of Kent.
Middle English: from obsolete gavel 'payment, rent' + kind1.
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Line breaks: gavel|kind
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