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[ten-yer] /ˈtɛn yər/
the holding or possessing of anything:
the tenure of an office.
the holding of property, especially real property, of a superior in return for services to be rendered.
the period or term of holding something.
status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period, indicating that the position or employment is permanent.
verb (used with object)
to give tenure to:
After she served three years on probation, the committee tenured her.
Origin of tenure
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French teneure < Vulgar Latin *tenitura, equivalent to *tenit(us) held (for Latin tentus, past participle of tenēre) + -ura -ure
Related forms
[ten-yoo r-ee-uh l] /tɛnˈyʊər i əl/ (Show IPA),
tenurially, adverb
nontenurial, adjective
nontenurially, adverb
undertenure, noun
Can be confused
tender, tenor, tenure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tenurial
Historical Examples
  • But this tenurial heterogeneity seems to be an attribute of all or nearly all the very ancient boroughs, the county towns.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • Personal, tenurial, justiciary threads are woven into a web that bewilders us.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • In Domesday Book the feudal or tenurial principle seems still struggling for recognition.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • The trait to which we allude we shall call (for want of a better term) the tenurial heterogeneity of the burgesses.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • That tenurial heterogeneity of which we have been speaking had another important effect.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • But in East Anglia there is no such simplicity of arrangement, no such permanence of tenurial compartments.

British Dictionary definitions for tenurial


/ˈtɛnjʊə; ˈtɛnjə/
the possession or holding of an office or position
the length of time an office, position, etc, lasts; term
(mainly US & Canadian) the improved security status of a person after having been in the employ of the same company or institution for a specified period
the right to permanent employment until retirement, esp for teachers, lecturers, etc
(property law)
  1. the holding or occupying of property, esp realty, in return for services rendered, etc
  2. the duration of such holding or occupation
Derived Forms
tenurial, adjective
tenurially, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from Medieval Latin tenitūra, ultimately from Latin tenēre to hold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tenurial



early 15c., "holding of a tenement," from Anglo-French and Old French tenure "a tenure, estate in land" (13c.), from Old French tenir "to hold," from Vulgar Latin *tenire, from Latin tenere "to hold" (see tenet). The sense of "condition or fact of holding a status, position, or occupation" is first attested 1590s. Meaning "guaranteed tenure of office" (usually at a university or school) is recorded from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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