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late 14c., "legal contract conveying property, usually for a fixed period of time and with a fixed compensation," from Anglo-French les (late 13c.), from lesser "to let, let go," from Old French laissier "to let, allow, permit; bequeath, leave," from Latin laxare "loosen, open, make wide," from laxus "loose" (see lax). Modern French equivalent legs is altered by erroneous derivation from Latin legatum "bequest, legacy."
late 15c., "to take a lease," from Anglo-French lesser, Old French laissier "to let, leave" (see lease (n.). Related: Leased; leasing. Lessor, lessee in contract language preserves the Anglo-French form.
A contract that grants possession of property for a specified period of time in return for some kind of compensation.
a contract for the exclusive possession of property (usually but not necessarily land or buildings) for a determinate period or at will. The person making the grant is called the lessor, and the person receiving the grant is called the lessee. Two important requirements for a lease are that the lessee have exclusive possession (nonexclusive possession would call for a license) and that the lessor's term of interest in the property be longer than the term of the lease (a grant involving an equal term or period would comprise a conveyance or assignment, not a lease).