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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A different view of royal opportunism can be seen in the confirmation of charters for leading monasteries outside the demesne.
▪ How far did the abandonment of demesne lands affect the income of the landowners?
▪ It was very advantageous for Edward to have his brother in so central a position, adjacent to the Capetian demesne.
▪ Private chases created by tenants-in-chief since 1154 outside their own demesnes were likewise abrogated, in accordance with the provisions of the Forest Charter.
▪ Royal charters bore witness to renewed vigour outside the demesne as in it.
▪ The demesne plantation was now very much smaller than it had been when Alec was a boy.
▪ The Count of Eu holds in demesne a manor which is called Hou.
▪ There was a thriving mill, and the fields of the demesne were wide and green, the ploughland well tended.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Demesne \De*mesne"\, n. [OE. demeine, demain, rule, demesne, OF. demeine, demaine, demeigne, domaine, power, F. domaine domain, fr. L. dominium property, right of ownership, fr. dominus master, proprietor, owner. See Dame, and cf. Demain, Domain, Danger, Dungeon.] (Law) A lord's chief manor place, with that part of the lands belonging thereto which has not been granted out in tenancy; a house, and the land adjoining, kept for the proprietor's own use. [Written also demain.]
--Wharton's Law Dict. Burrill.

Ancient demesne. (Eng. Law) See under Ancient.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, demeyne (modern spelling by late 15c.), from Anglo-French demesne, demeine, Old French demaine "land held for a lord's own use," from Latin dominicus "belonging to a master," from dominus "lord." Re-spelled by Anglo-French legal scribes under influence of Old French mesnie "household" (and the concept of a demesne as "land attached to a mansion") and their fondness for inserting -s- before -n-. Essentially the same word as domain.


n. A lord’s chief manor place, with that part of the lands belonging thereto which has not been granted out in tenancy; a house, and the land adjoining, kept for the proprietor’s own use.

  1. n. extensive landed property (especially in the country) retained by the owner for his own use; "the family owned a large estate on Long Island" [syn: estate, land, landed estate, acres]

  2. territory over which rule or control is exercised; "his domain extended into Europe"; "he made it the law of the land" [syn: domain, land]


In the feudal system the demesne was all the land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants. In England royal demesne is the land held by the Crown, and ancient demesne is the legal term for the land held by the king at the time of the Domesday Book.

Usage examples of "demesne".

The player gains nothing by this, but neither does he lose much, for with this play the Demesne is changed, and the game moves elsewhere in the purlieu.

Think how this differs from a battle game between Armigers, for instance, where the Demesne grows very gradually from the first move of a Herald or Sentinel.

All our time was spent in learning to play, learning what moves could be made by which Gamesmen, what powers each had, what conditions influenced the move, how to determine where the edge of a Demesne would lie.

Chill Demesne would grow around us, blooming like a hideous flower with us at its center.

Shuddering, I circled the hill to measure the Demesne, keeping the chill upon my right hand, six hundred paces, more or less.

There was nothing for us to do but travel together, for the Bright Demesne, of the Wizard Himaggery lay south, the way we were going.

Three times we have lived in the Bright Demesne, and each time Dazzle has started up some such foolishness.

The next morning we left the Bright Demesne, and only then did I realize how strange a place it was.

The Demesne absolute of a Seer is small, a few paces across, and the power use is erratic.

The Demesne of a Shifter is very small but very intense, and it goes away quickly.

At the edges of the battle, beyond the Demesne, stolid files of pawns.

High Demesne stood upon one of the white cliffs over a cataract of water which spun its falling veil eternally into the gem-bright pools below.

And after that, lunch, and after that an audience with the High King who had decided, it seemed, that we were not intent on damage to himself or his Demesne I did not take to him as I had to Himaggery.

House was supplied from the High Demesne, unlike the Schooltown I had known with its own farms and merchants.

High Demesne, set at the top of a south sloping valley, a single white tower with some lower buildings clustered at its foot.