Definition of tenement in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtenəmənt/


1A room or a set of rooms forming a separate residence within a house or block of apartments.
Example sentences
  • The flat was part of a refurbished block of tenements that belonged to a housing co-operative.
  • Rents were horrendous for urban dwellers, with entire families doubling up in crowded single room tenements.
  • Various diseases all too often swept through entire city blocks of tenements.
1.1 (also tenement house) A house divided into and rented out as separate residences, especially one that is run-down and overcrowded.
Example sentences
  • The flat was on the first floor of a tenement block, and had a lovely front room.
  • It was a basement flat in an Edinburgh tenement, with something of a history.
  • He spent his working life designing commercial premises, tenements and mansion houses.
2A piece of land held by an owner.
Example sentences
  • Their lands and tenements should be seized into the king's hands.
2.1 Law Any kind of permanent property, e.g., lands or rents, held from a superior.
Example sentences
  • The roadway is being used for obtaining access and egress to and from land outside the dominant tenement.
  • He holds the tenement by a rent due to the maker of the recognizance.
  • The grantor intends to reserve rights over the tenement granted.


Middle English (in the sense 'tenure, property held by tenure'): via Old French from medieval Latin tenementum, from tenere 'to hold'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ten·e·ment

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