eminent domain

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eminent domain (uncountable)

  1. (law, US) The right of a government over the private property within its jurisdiction. Usually invoked to compel land owners to sell their property in preparation for a major construction project such as a freeway.
    The city council used eminent domain to make me sell my store.
  2. (historical) In feudalism, the legal interest or rights of a lord or superior in an estate in land held in fee, as opposed to the vassal's or tenant's interest.


  1. compulsory purchase (UK, Ireland, General New Zealand), compulsory acquisition (General Australian), expropriation (Canada, General South African)
  2. superiority (Scots law)