Fee-tail definition

An estate in land that may only be passed on to lineal descendants.
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An estate in real property which may be inherited only by a specified class of heirs, usually the natural children of the owner.
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A fee estate granted to a particular individual and his or her specified heirs (typically direct issue, not collateral heirs) and that reverts if the individual dies without such heirs.
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(law, obsolete) An estate in land at common law wherein the land is inherited, but can not be sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the owner, but which passes by operation of law to the owner's heirs upon his death.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
fee-tail
Plural:
fees tail

Origin of fee-tail

  • Middle English fe taille from Anglo-Norman fee taile fee fee fee Old French taile past participle of tailier to cut tailor

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Derived from the Middle Latin foedum talliatum.

    From Wiktionary