c.1300, "holding of immovable property" (such as land or buildings,) from Anglo-Fr. (1292) and O.Fr. tenement
(12c.), from M.L. tenementum
"a holding, fief" (1081), from L. tenere
"to hold" (see tenet
). The meaning "dwelling place, residence" is attested from c.1425; tenement house
"house broken up into apartments, usually in a poor section of a city" is first recorded 1858, Amer.Eng., from tenament
in an earlier sense (esp. in Scotland) "large house constructed to be let to a number of tenants" (1693).