One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A system of land tenure in which the farmer pays a certain proportion (usually half) of the produce to the landowner as rent, and the owner provides (a part of) the stock and seed. Also more generally: any form of sharecropping.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Donald Mackenzie Wallace (1841–1919), journalist and author. From French métayage from métayer + -age.
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