Borrowed 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.
1952, Norman Lewis, Golden Earth:
- As no one had ever bothered them you could get within a few yards and watch their bright, busy foraging among the leaves. Duffy, the Consul, said that they were there every day as he had resisted the servants' implorings to shoot them; he knew that as soon as the first shot had been fired, this decorative adjunct to his demesne would vanish for ever.
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.