One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A type of tenure in land with restrictions (entailments) regarding the line of heirs to whom it may be willed.
- ‘This distinguished the fee simple from the life estate (which was not inheritable) and the fee tail (which was inheritable only by a restricted class of heirs, e.g., heirs of the body male).’
- ‘One feature about it may have been the desire to protect, in days when there were, for example, fee tail, things of that kind, the desire to protect fortunes, or what remained of them, for succeeding generations.’
- ‘This statute established a rule of construction that enabled landowners to create this desired "fee tail" estate.’
Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French fee tailé (see fee, tail).
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