From Anglo-Norman demeyne, demene et al., Old French demeine, demaine, demeigne, domaine (“power”) (whence French domaine (“domain”)), a noun use of an adjective, from Latin dominicus (“belonging to a lord or master”), from dominus (“master, proprietor, owner”). See dame, and compare demain, domain.
demesne (plural demesnes)
- A lord’s chief manor place, with that part of the lands belonging thereto which has not been granted out in tenancy; a house, and the land adjoining, kept for the proprietor’s own use.
1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter III:
- I could spot no friendly native to tell me where I might find Bobbie. I proceeded, therefore, to roam hither and thither about the grounds and messuages in the hope of locating her, wishing that I had a couple of bloodhounds to aid me in my task, for the Travers demesne is a spacious one and there was a considerable amount of sunshine above, though none, I need scarcely mention, in my heart.
1962, Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire, Commentary, note to lines 993-995:
- One minute before his death, as we were crossing from his demesne to mine and had begun working up between the junipers and ornamental shrubs, a Red Admirable (see note to line 270) came dizzily whirling around us like a colored flame.
- A region or area; a domain.