Pronunciation Noun

fee (plural fees)

  1. (feudal law) A right to the use of a superior's land, as a stipend for services to be performed; also, the land so held; a fief.
  2. (legal) An inheritable estate in land held of a feudal lord on condition of the performing of certain services.
  3. (legal) An estate of inheritance in land, either absolute and without limitation to any particular class of heirs (fee simple) or limited to a particular class of heirs (fee tail).
  4. (obsolete) Property; owndom; estate.
    • 1844, The Heritage, by James Russell Lowell
      What doth the poor man's son inherit? / Stout muscles and a sinewy heart, / A hardy frame, a hardier spirit; / King of two hands, he does his part / In every useful toil and art; / A heritage, it seems to me, / A king might wish to hold in fee.
    • 1915, W.S. Maugham, "Of Human Bondage", chapter 121:
      Cronshaw had told him that the facts of life mattered nothing to him who by the power of fancy held in fee the twin realms of space and time.
  5. (obsolete) Money paid or bestowed; payment; emolument.
  6. (obsolete) A prize or reward. Only used in the set phrase "A finder's fee" in Modern English.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.10:
      For though sweet love to conquer glorious bee, / Yet is the paine thereof much greater than the fee.
  7. A monetary payment charged for professional services.
Related terms Translations Verb

fee (fees, present participle feeing; past and past participle feed)

  1. To reward for services performed, or to be performed; to recompense; to hire or keep in hire; hence, to bribe.
    • 1693, John Dryden, “The Third Satire of Aulus Persius Flaccus”, in The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis:
      In vain for Hellebore the patient cries / And fees the doctor; but too late is wise
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene iv]:
      There's not a one of them but in his house I keep a servant feed.
    • 1847, Herman Melville, Omoo
      We departed the grounds without seeing Marbonna; and previous to vaulting over the picket, feed our pretty guide, after a fashion of our own.

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