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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).

LIFERENT, n., v. Also †lyf-. Sc. Law. [′ləifrɛnt]

I. n. A right to receive till death (or some other specified contingency) the revenue of a property without the right to dispose of the capital, corresp. to civil law term usufruct. Also attrib.Sc. 1708 Rights and Liberties Commons Gt. Brit. (Pamphlet) 5:
Life Rent Escheat, is a Casualty whereby the Superiour has a Right to the whole Rents of his Vassals lands, during all the days of his Life time.
Sc. 1718 Forfeited Estate Papers (S.H.S.) 14:
Contract of Marriage … by which a liferent annuity of 400 merks is provided for her out of his lands.
Sc. 1751 W. McFarlane Geneal. Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 331:
The liferent of his whole Estate rested with the Lady Fraser his wife.
Ork. 1772 P. Fea MS. Diary (May):
My Cussines signed a Liferent Tack to me and my Wife.
Abd. 1793 Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 2:
One of these leases having lately fallen by the death of the liferent-tacksmen.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket ix.:
She [a widow] had a life-rent of her farm, the out-door-work of which was superintended by her son.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 253:
Horn daft is he wha greens to gie A liferent to some gipsy.
Sc. 1941 W. J. Dobie Liferent and Fee 1:
The term liferent is primarily applied to a right which expires on the holder's death, but the expression is also used to denote other temporary rights of enjoyment, which may terminate on the occurrence of some other event.
Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 51:
It is a proper liferent when only fiar and liferenter are involved: improper liferent when trustees are interposed: it is legal when imposed by law (e.g., terce), conventional when agreed; it is by reservation when the granter gives the fee but keeps a liferent, by constitution when he creates the liferent for another and keeps or disposes elsewhere of the fee.

II. v. To enjoy (property) under a liferent; occas., to grant a liferent to. Hence liferenter, fem. -rentrix (pl. -rices), a man or woman who has a liferent.Sc. 1700 Edb. Gazette (2–5 Sept.):
The Lands of Hiltoun … presently Liferented by the Lady Rosyth, are to be Set in Tack by way of publick Roup.
Inv. 1720 Session Rec. Inv. (Mitchell 1902) 120:
Heritors, Wodsetters, Lyfrenters and Elders … proceeded to the Election of a Minister.
Mry. 1733 W. Cramond Ch. Urquhart (1899) 59:
Some of the votes were challenged anent life-rentrices.
Dmf. 1778 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (19 May):
For particulars, apply to Mrs Douglas life rentrix of the subjects.
Sc. 1819 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) VI. 28:
My wife's brother has left my children a considerable fortune, which is at present liferented by his lady.
Per. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (16 Sept.):
John Allan, who, by the tenure of his tack, could not be removed, he being a life-renter.
Ags. 1931 V. Jacob Lairds of Dun 143:
Magdalen was liferented in the lands of Glasgennocht.
Sc. 1937 St. Andrews Cit. (6 March) 2:
The residue of his estate be life-rented to his sister. At the expiry of the life-rent, the residue will be divided into six parts.

[Life + rent. O.Sc. in liferent, id., from a.1400, lifrentar, 1535, lyfrentrix, 1617, lyferented, 1664.]

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"Liferent n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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