General English


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


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.