Meaning of gavelkind in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɡav(ə)lkʌɪnd/


mass noun historical
  • A system of inheritance in which a deceased person's land is divided equally among all male heirs.

    ‘Only in Kent and in Wales did the custom of gavelkind produce the partible inheritance which reduced many noble families to penury on the continent.’
    • ‘The redistribution by gavelkind on each occasion extended to the clan or sept - not beyond.’
    • ‘The Irish gavelkind, it will be seen, is quite different from the gavelkind customary in the county of Kent.’
    • ‘In particular, it appeared to the Crown that they were relying on the customs of tanistry and gavelkind.’
    • ‘Undeniably, however, subdivision of holdings took place on a large scale and continued to do so notwithstanding the formal abolition of gavelkind following the union with England.’


Middle English from obsolete gavel ‘payment, rent’ + kind.