fee Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a fixed charge for a privilege or for professional services
  2. noun an interest in land capable of being inherited
  3. verb give a tip or gratuity to in return for a service, beyond the compensation agreed on
    tip; bung.
    • Remember to tip the waiter
    • fee the steward


Fee noun
OE. fe, feh, feoh, cattle, property, money, fiet, AS. feoh cattle, property, money; the senses of "property, money," arising from cattle being used in early times as a medium of exchange or payment, property chiefly consisting of cattle; akin to OS. feuh cattle, property, D. vee cattle, OHG. fihu, fehu, G. vieh, Icel. f cattle, property, money, Goth. faíhu, L. pecus cattle, pecunia property. money, Skr. pau cattle, perh. orig., "a fastened or tethered animal," from a root signifying to bind, and perh. akin to E. fang, fair, a.; cf. OF. fie, flu, feu, fleu, fief, F. fief, from German, of the same origin. the sense fief is due to the French. 249. Cf. Feud, Fief, Fellow, Pecuniary.
  1. property; possession; tenure. "Laden with rich fee." Spenser.
    Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee. Wordsworth.
  2. Reward or compensation for services rendered or to be rendered; especially, payment for professional services, of optional amount, or fixed by custom or laws; charge; pay; perquisite; as, the fees of lawyers and physicians; the fees of office; clerk's fees; sheriff's fees; marriage fees, etc.
    To plead for love deserves more fee than hate. Shak.
  3. (Feud. Law) A right to the use of a superior's land, as a stipend for services to be performed; also, the land so held; a fief.
  4. (Eng. Law) An estate of inheritance supposed to be held either mediately or immediately from the sovereign, and absolutely vested in the owner. ✍ All the land in England, except the crown land, is of this kind. An absolute fee, or fee simple, is land which a man holds to himself and his heirs forever, who are called tenants in fee simple. In modern writers, by fee is usually meant fee simple. A limited fee may be a qualitified or base fee, which ceases with the existence of certain conditions; or a conditional fee, or fee tail, which is limited to particular heirs. Blackstone.
  5. (Amer. Law) An estate of inheritance belonging to the owner, and transmissible to his heirs, absolutely and simply, without condition attached to the tenure.
Fee transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Feed ; present participle & verbal noun Feeing
  1. To reward for services performed, or to be performed; to recompense; to hire or keep in hire; hence, to bribe.
    The patient . . . fees the doctor. Dryden.
    There's not a one of them but in his house I keep a servant feed. Shak.

Webster 1913