Legal Definition and Related Resources of Seisin

Meaning of Seisin

The possession of land or a freehold tenure . At common law , the term imported a feudal investiture of title by actual possession. It is the relation in which a person stands to land or other hereditaments when he has in them an estate of freehold in possession; such a person is said to be seised of the land. At common law the term seisin is used to denote possession of freehold whereas the word possession is applied to leaseholds and other personal property . Seisin may be actual, that is, the person entitled to the freehold land is himself in the actual possession or where it is occupied by a person claiming under him such as his lessee . It is constructive or said to be in law where he inherits the land from an ancestor who died intestate and has not taken actual possession of the land by entering the same. For a seisin can be obtained only by actual entry and taking possession by the freeholder or by anyone claiming under him.

Seisin Alternative Definition

The completloli of the feudal Investiture, by which the tenant was admitted into the feud, and performed the rites of homage and fealty. Stearns, Real Actions, 2. Possession with an intent on the part of him who holds it to claim a freehold interest. 8 N. H. 58; 1 Washb. Real Prop. 35; 115 111. 183. Immediately upon the investiture or livery of seisin, the tenant became tenant of the freehold; and the term “seisin” originally contained the idea of possession derived from a superior lord of whom the tenant held. There could be but one seisin, and the person holding it was regarded for the time as the rightful owner. Litt. § 701 ; 1 Spence, Eq. Jur. 136. In the early history of the country, livery of seisin seems to have been occasionally practiced. See 1 Washb. Real Prop. 34, note; Colony Laws (Mass.) 85, 86; Smith, Landl. & Ten. (Morris Ed.) 6, note. Seisin and ownership, as to corporeal hereditaments, in the common law sense of the term, mean practically the same thing. 115 111. 182. In Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, seisin means merely “ownership,” and the distinction between seisin in deed and in law is not known in practice. Walk. Am. Law, 324, 330; 4 Day (Conn.) 305; 4 Mass. 489; 14 Pick. (Mass.) 224; 6 Mete. (Mass.) 439. A patent by the commonwealth, in Kentucky, gives a right Df entry, but not actual seisin. 3 Bibb (Ky.) 57. Seisin in fact is possession with intent on the part of him who holds it to claim a freehold interest. Seisin in law is a right of immediate possession according to the nature of the estate. Cowell; tiomyn. Dig. “Seisin” (A 1, 2). See “Livery of Seisin.”

Synonyms of Seisin


  • control
  • hold
  • mastery
  • occupancy
  • occupation
  • ownership
  • possession
  • possessorship
  • tenancy
  • tenure
  • title Associated Concepts: actual seisin
  • constructive seisin
  • covenant of seisin
  • equitable seisin
  • seisin in deed
  • seisin in fact
  • seisin in law

Related Entries of Seisin in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Seisin 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.

Seisin in Historical Law

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

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Curtesy, Disseisin, Feoffment, Half-mark, Hereditament, Lease And Release, Livery, Livery Of Seisin, Re-entry, Proviso For, Tenant By The Curtesy, Tenure.


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Related topics Seisin in the World Encyclopedia of Law


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

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Seisin in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

French scisin, to make to possess or to sit upon. The possession of land under a claim, either express or implied by law, of an estate amounting at least to a freehold. Towle v. Ayer, 8 N.H. 59 (1835). See Seisina below. Originally, seisin was the completion of the feudal investiture; it now means ownership. A “covenant of seisin” and a “covenant of right to convey” are synonymous. Cook v. Hammond, 4 Mass. 488 (1827).

Note: This legal definition of Seisin in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

Concept of Seisin (seizin) in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Seisin (seizin): An optional speling of existing definition, which is spelled seisen (seizen).

Concept of Seisin (seizin) in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Seisin (seizin): An optional speling of existing definition, which is spelled seisen (seizen).




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