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[met-uh-yahzh, mey-tuh-] /ˌmɛt əˈyɑʒ, ˌmeɪ tə-/
the system of agriculture based on the use of métayers.
1875-80; < French; see métayer, -age Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Encyclopedia Article for metayage

type of land tenure whereby the cultivator (metayer) uses land without owning it and pays rent in kind to the owner. Pure metayage is a form of share tenancy involving payment of approximately half the annual output; the metayer's family permanently occupies the land that it works. The term describes what was probably the dominant type of land tenure in 18th-century France, certainly in southern France, and in parts of Italy

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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