Definition of tontine in English:



  • 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 life insurance plan in which the beneficiaries are those who survive and maintain a policy to the end of a given period.



/ˈtäntēn/ /ˈtɑntin/


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).