One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who takes possession of land between the death of the owner and the accession of the legal heir.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in John Rastell (c1475–1536), lawyer and printer. From Anglo-Norman abatour person who abates (in a tenement); in later use with remodelling of the suffix after -or<br>late 16th century; earliest use found in Samuel Daniel (?1563–1619), poet and historian. From abate + -or. Compare Middle French abatteur person who takes down, knocks down, fells. Compare also Anglo-Norman abatour.
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