General English


  • noun a person who pays rent for the use of a farm and land owned by a landlord


  • In the broadest sense, one who possesses real property, under any kind of right or title, for any period of time. This broad meaning is used with respect to the different forms of multiple ownership. See also tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety.

Real Estate

  • noun someone who rents a building, house, set of rooms, plot of land, or other piece of property for a fixed period of time
  • verb to live in or on someone else’s property as a tenant


  • noun somebody who rents or leases premises from a landlord

Origin & History of “tenant”

A tenant is etymologically a ‘holder’. The word comes from Old French tenant, a noun use of the present participle of tenir ‘hold’. this in turn went back to Latin tenēre ‘hold’, a descendant of the Indo-European base *ten- ‘stretch, extend’ (source also of English tend, tense, thin, etc). Also from Latin tenēre come English tenacious (16th c.), tenement (14th c.), tenet (17th c.), and tenor, not to mention contain, continue, detain, maintain, obtain, retain, etc, while French tenir has additionally produced tenable (16th c.), tenon (15th c.), tenure (15th c.), and probably tennis.