AskDefine | Define messuage

Dictionary Definition

messuage n : (law) a dwelling house and its adjacent buildings and the adjacent land used by the household

User Contributed Dictionary



Anglo-Norman mesuage, probably originally a misreading of mesnage ‘ménage, household’.


IPA: /'mɛswɪʤ/


  1. a plot of land as the site for a house
    • 1985: Matthias turned his lonely house into a mart where furniture, plate and titledeeds to fields and messuages could be brought, evaluated, and transferred to the hands of the primal twelve as administrators. — Anthony Burgess, Kingdom of the Wicked
  2. a residential house with its assigned land

Extensive Definition

In law, the term messuage equates to a dwelling-house and includes outbuildings, orchard, curtilage or court-yard and garden. At one time messuage supposedly had a more extensive meaning than that comprised in the word house or site, but such distinction, if it ever existed, no longer survives.
A capital messuage is the main messuage of an estate, the house in which the owner of the estate normally lives.
The word messuage derives from the Anglo-French mesuage (holding), probably a corruption of popular Latin mansio, whence modern French maison (house), from manere (to dwell).
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