Definition of tenement in English:



  • 1(especially in Scotland or the US) a room or a set of rooms forming a separate residence within a house or block of flats.

    • ‘Various diseases all too often swept through entire city blocks of tenements.’
    • ‘Rents were horrendous for urban dwellers, with entire families doubling up in crowded single room tenements.’
    • ‘The flat was part of a refurbished block of tenements that belonged to a housing co-operative.’
    • ‘Scotland's tenement flats are a well-loved part of urban culture.’
    • ‘City planners were leveling block after block of tenements.’
    1. 1.1 A house divided into and let as separate residences.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You do not specify which floor your property is on within the tenement.’
      • ‘He spent his working life designing commercial premises, tenements and mansion houses.’
      • ‘Finally they had arrived at a run down tenement that advertised rooms for cheap.’
  • 2A piece of land held by an owner.

    • ‘Their lands and tenements should be seized into the king's hands.’
    1. 2.1Law Any kind of permanent property, e.g. lands or rents, held from a superior.
      • ‘The roadway is being used for obtaining access and egress to and from land outside the dominant tenement.’
      • ‘Permission had not been granted by the owners of the servient tenement for them to park their vehicles.’
      • ‘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’.