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From Anglo-Norman derreyn, dreyn; from Old French darrein, darrain (Modern French dernier); from an assumed Late Latin *deretrānus (to hinder), from (from, away from) + retrō (back, backwards; before, formerly).


  • IPA(key): /dəˈɹeɪn/, /ˈdæɹeɪn/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: dar‧rein


darrein (not comparable)

  1. (law, historical) In the names of legal actions, pleas, writs, etc.: final, last; dernier.
    the assize of darrein presentment
    a plea puis darrein continuance
    darrein resort
    • 1534, George Ferrers, transl., The Boke of Magna Carta, with Diuers other Statutes, whose Names Appere in the nexte Lefe folowynge, Translated into Englyshe, London: Imprynted at London: In Fletestrete, by me Robert Redman, dwellyng at the sygne of the George, nexte to Saynt Dunstones church, OCLC 606547081, Magna Carta, chapter 13:
      The. xiii. Chap. Asſyſes of darreyn preſentement ſhalbe taken alway before our iuſtices of the benche / and there ſhalbe determyned.
    • 1672, William de Britaine, The Interest of England in the Present War with Holland. By the Author of The Dutch Usurpation[1], London: Printed for Jonathan Edwin, at the three Roses in Ludgate-street, OCLC 65327921, archived from the original on 28 January 2016, page 9:
      Therefore Ultima resolutio est gladius, War is the darrein resort of every wise and good Prince; unto which his Majesty was necessitated, they being the first Aggressors, and that upon such clear and pregnant evidence, as no King ever undertook a more just War.
    • 1718, Anthony Fitzherbert; William Hughes, transl., The New Natura Brevium of the most Reverend Judge, Mr. Anthony Fitz-Herbert. Whereunto are Added, the Authorities in Law, and some other Cases and Notes Collected by the Translator out of the Year-Books and Abridgments. With a New and Exact Table of the most Material Things Contained therein, 6th edition, In the Savoy [London]: Printed by Eliz. Nutt and R. Gosling, (Assigns of Edw. Sayer Esq.;) for R. Gosling at the Mitre and Crown, over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street, OCLC 26870967, page 69:
      [A] Man ſhall have Aſſiſe of Darrein Preſentment, although he nor his Anceſtors do preſent to the laſt Avoidance: As if the Tenant for Life or for Years, or in Dower, or by the Courteſy, ſuffer a Uſurpation unto a Church, &c. and die, he in the Reverſion, who is Heir unto the Anceſtor who laſt preſented, ſhall have an Aſſiſe of Darrein Preſentment, if he be diſturbed.
    • 1769, Danby Pickering, The Statutes at Large, from Magna Charta to the End of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain, Anno 1761. Carefully Collated and Revised, volume XXIV (Being the Index), Cambridge: Printed by J. Archdeacon, Printer to the University; for Charles Bathurst, at the Cross-Keys, opposite St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-Street, London, page 141:
      Aſſiſes of Darrein Preſentment ſhall alway be taken before the justices of the bench, and there determined, Magn. Chart. 9 H. 3. c. 13. vol. I.
    • 1793, Anthony Fitzherbert; Matthew Hale, The New Natura Brevium of the Most Reverend Judge, Mr. Anthony Fitz-herbert. Together with the Authorities in Law, and Cases in the Books of Reports Cited in the Margin. [...] To which is Added, A Commentary, Containing Curious Notes and Observations on the Most Remarkable and Useful Writs, which Illustrate and Explain many Doubtful and Abstruse Cases and Points in the Original. By the Late Lord Chief Justice Hale. With a New and Exact Table of the Most Material Things Contained Therein, 9th edition, Dublin: Printed by H. Watts, law bookseller, No. 3, Christ Church Lane, OCLC 80972094, page 73:
      Aſſiſe de Darrein Preſentment. The form of the writ of Darrein Preſentment for a common perſon is ſuch: The king to the ſheriff, greeting: If A. ſhall make you ſecure, &c. then ſummon, &c. twelve free and lawful men of the neighbourhood of B. that they be before our juſtices, &c. ready to recognize by oath what patron in time of peace preſented the laſt parſon, who is dead, to the church of C. or the last vicar, who is dead, to the vicarage of N. which is vacant, as is ſaid, and the advowſon whereof, he the ſame A. ſays, belongs to himſelf: []
    • 1825, Henry Roscoe, A Treatise on the Law of Actions Relating to Real Property [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Joseph Butterworth and Son 43, Fleet-Street, OCLC 838625022, page 74:
      An assise of darrein presentment lies for tenant in fee, or in tail, when he or his ancestors have presented to a church, and the clerk has been instituted, and the plaintiff is afterwards hindered in presenting to the same church. [] This action is now entirely disused, a quare impedit being the proper remedy for a disturbance in presenting to a church, since that writ may be maintained wherever a writ of darrein presentment may, although the converse is not true.
    • 1827, John Frederick Archbold, The Practice of the Court of King's Bench in Personal Actions, and Ejectment, volume I, 2nd American edition, New York, N.Y.: Published by Edward B. Gould, law bookseller, sign of Lord Coke, No. 6 Broad-Street, pages 198–199:
      If any matter of defence arise after the defendant has pleaded, and before the jury have actually delivered their verdict, the defendant may avail himself of it by a plea, termed a "plea puis darrein continuance." Thus, if after plea pleaded, the plaintiff give the defendant a release, the latter may plead the release puis darrein continuance.
    • 1845, Thomas W. Clerke, A Practical Elementary Digest of the Reported Cases in the Supreme Court of Judicature, and the Court for the Correction of Errors, of the State of New York; together with the Reported Cases of the Superior Court for the City and County of New York, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time; [...] In Two Volumes, volume II, New York, N.Y.: Published by Gould, Banks & Co. law booksellers, No. 144 Nassau Street: and by W. M. & A. Gould & Co. No. 104 State Street, Albany, OCLC 62420486, page 814:
      In an action for a libel the defendant pleaded puis darrein continuance, that he was a partner with C. in the printing and publishing of a newspaper which contained the libel, and that the plaintiff brought a separate action against C. for the same identical publication, and recovered judgment which had been satisfied, held to be a good plea. Thomas v. Rumsey, 6 J.R. 26.
    • 1966, H[erbert] J[ames] Hewitt, “Transfer of Territory”, in The Organization of War under Edward III 1338–62, Manchester; New York, N.Y.: Manchester University Press; Barnes & Noble, OCLC 398232, pages 145–146:
      In the presence of the assembled representatives of the city, the French commissioners read a letter from king John addressed to the people of Poitiers and Poitou, recalling the evils of war, the conclusion of peace and the promise he had made to hand over for ever to the king of England Poitiers (both city and castle) and Poitou. He bade them therefore to do homage, pay revenues and render obedience to the English king as they had previously done to the French king 'saving to us sovereignty and "darrein ressort"'.

Usage notes[edit]

The word darrein appears in a number of phrases, including assize (and writ) of darrein presentment, plea puis darrein continuance and darrein res(s)ort.

In English law, an advowson was the right, often held together with a fee or fief, to nominate a person to be a parish priest of a church. Such a nomination was subject to episcopal approval. If a person complained he had been unlawfully deprived of an advowson by another person, he could bring a legal action called the assize of darrein presentment for an inquiry into who was the last holder of the advowson (the advowee or patron) to present a priest, and to establish that he was the rightful advowee. The assize was established in 1166 and abolished in 1833.

A plea puis darrein continuance was a plea made after the last continuance in the legal proceedings; for example, if a defendant had already presented his or her case, but wished to raise an additional matter before the jury delivered its verdict.

A darrein resort (or ressort), now more common in the French form dernier ressort (meaning “last resort”), was the final court which a legal matter could be appealed to.

Not to be confused with darrain or deraign.