The Word for the Day
July 12, 2009
usufruct • \YOO-zuh-frukt\ • noun
- *1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another
- 2 : the right to use or enjoy something
Example Sentence:Dorothy's will bequeathed one-third of her estate to her husband; the remaining two-thirds was bequeathed to him as a lifetime usufruct, later to be donated to charity.
Did you know?Thomas Jefferson said, "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." He apparently understood that when you hold something in usufruct, you gain something of significant value, but only temporarily. The gains granted by usufruct can be clearly seen in the Latin phrase from which the word developed, "usus et fructus," which means "use and enjoyment." Latin speakers condensed that phrase to "ususfructus," the term English speakers used as the model for our modern word. "Usufruct" has been used as a noun for the legal right to use something since at least the 1630s. Any right granted by usufruct ends at a specific point, usually the death of the individual who holds it.
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.