Legal Definition and Related Resources of Entail

Meaning of Entail

To settle or limit the succession to real property . A fee limited to the issue or certain class of issue. The term was used in England to denote an estate in tail. Estates in tail have their origin in the statute De Donis Conditionalibus of 1285. The statute was meant to relieve against the condition or contingent estates created by a will or gift to a man and the heirs of his body which was until then construed to mean that the man acquired the estate conditional on his having issue and as soon as he had the issue he took the estate in fee simple . After said Act, the words and the heirs of his body operated to give the donee a limited estate that he could not alienate and then the estate passed to his issue, and failing any issue reverted to the donor or the remaindermen. A practice developed over the years, whereby by fictitious proceedings called fines and recoveries, an estate tail could be converted to a fee simple and after the Fines and Recoveries Act of 1833, in England, every tenant in tail was enabled to bar the entail against his own issue, and if there was a Protector of reversioner then with his consent , to bar the reversioner as well, and thus convert the estate into a fee simple. An estate in tail can be general or special; can be tail male or tail female . A general entail is a devise to A and the heirs of his body; a special entail is a devise to A and the heirs of his body by his wife B. The donor can further limit the gift by specifying that the property went to A and the heirs male of his body in which case it is a male entail or to A and the heirs female of his body in which case it is a female entail. The object of creating estates in tail was to preserve the properties, particularly land, in the linear descendants of the donee. since it operated to so preserve only for two generations, the usual practice was that when the eldest son of the donee became suijuris, he would as the tenant in tail, subject to his father ‘s life interest , bar his issue with the consent of his father; the father would usually give the consent on the condition that the estate be resettled on the son for life and the remainder in tail to his issue. In some jurisdictions, such as Florida, Iowa, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Carolina, etc., it has been decided that the statute De Donis Conditionalibus was never adopted and therefore an estate tail is not recognized in those jurisdictions.

Entail Alternative Definition

A fee abridged or limited to the issue, or certain classes of issue, instead of descending to all the heirs. 1 Washb. Real Prop. 66; Cowell; 2 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 112, note. To restrict the inheritance of lands to a particular class of issue. 1 Washb. Real Prop. 66; 2 Sharswood, BL Comm. 113. See “Estates;” “Tail.”

Synonyms of Entail


  • adferre
  • call for
  • demand
  • force
  • impel
  • include as a necessary consequence
  • inferre
  • involve
  • make essential
  • make incumbent
  • make inescapable
  • make necessary
  • make requisite
  • make unavoidable
  • necessitate
  • need
  • obligate
  • occasion
  • require

Related Entries of Entail in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Entail in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Entail in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Entail in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Entail in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Estate In Tail After Possibility Of Issue Extinct:, Estate Tail, Fee Simple, Palsgraf Rule, Resettlement, .


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Entail in the Dictionary Entail in our legal dictionaries
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Related topics Entail in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Entail is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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https://legaldictionary.lawin.org/entail/ The URI of Entail (more about URIs)


This term is a verb.

Etimology of Entail

(You may find entail at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

mid-14c., “convert (an estate) into ‘fee tail’ (feudum talliatum),” from en- (1) “make” + taile “legal limitation,” especially of inheritance, ruling who succeeds in ownership and preventing the property from being sold off, from Anglo-French taile, Old French taillie, past participle of taillier “allot, cut to shape,” from Late Latin taliare “to split” (see tailor; this term is also a noun.). Sense of “have consequences” is 1829, via the notion of “inseparable connection.” Related: Entailed; entailling; entailment.


See Also

  • Tail



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