One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An illegal enclosure of or encroachment upon land or property belonging to another or (now only) to the public; an appropriation of land or property for private purposes.
2A payment or rent due to a feudal superior for permission to enclose or build on land. Now historical and rare.
Middle English; earliest use found in Statutes of the Realm. From Anglo-Norman purpresture and Middle French (Normandy) pourpresture illegal enclosure of or encroachment on land or property belonging to another person or to the public, payment or rent due to a feudal superior for permission to enclose or build on land, further etymology uncertain.
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