Meaning of tontine in English:


Pronunciation /tɒnˈtiːn/ /ˈtɒntiːn/


  • 1An annuity shared by subscribers to a loan or common fund, the shares increasing as subscribers die until the last survivor enjoys the whole income.

    ‘The later we leave it, the more the pension becomes a tontine in which the survivor takes all.’
    • ‘If you own a house with others in a tontine - so that on death your share goes automatically to the others - where do you stand with regard to inheritance tax?’
    • ‘Here one finds the treatment of joint annuities on several lives, the inheritance of annuities, problems about the fair division of the costs of a tontine, and other contracts in which both age and interest on capital are relevant.’
    • ‘Cash self-help groups function like tontines, which have been documented in other areas of West Africa.’
    1. 1.1A scheme for life assurance in which the beneficiaries are those who survive and maintain a policy to the end of a given period.


Mid 18th century from French, named after Lorenzo Tonti (1630–95), a Neapolitan banker who started such a scheme to raise government loans in France (c1653).