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JUDICIAL AND STATUTORY DEFINITIONS
COLLECTED, EDITED, AND COMPILED
EDITORIAL STAFF OF THE NATIONAL REPORTER SYSTEM
WEST PUBLISHING CO.
JUDICIAL AND STATUTORY DEFINITIONS
WORDS AND PHRASES
The primary meaning of the word
"land," at common law, is “any ground, soil, See Arable Land; Cemetery Land; Claim or earth whatsoever; as meadows, pastures,
Against Land; Claim upon Land; Coal woods, waters, marshes, furzes and heath.”
"Land," in its legal signification, has an Land; Mineral Land; Overflowed
indefinite extent upwards, so that by a conLands; Public Land; Respecting Ti- veyance of land all buildings, growing timtle to Land; School Land; Shore ber, and water erected and being thereupon
Trustees of the Free-
haven v. Smith, 90 N. Y. Supp. 646, 650, 98 Lands; Unplatted Lands;
Vacant App. Div. 212.
It is elementary that the word "land" Adjacent lands, see Adjacent.
in its legal signification has an indefinite. All my lands, see All.
extent upwards as well as downwards, and Contract for sale of land, see Contract therefore if it were possible for a man to of Sale.
live in a state of nature, unconnected with Improvement of land, see Improvement. other individuals, the proprietor of land Interest in land, see Interest (In Prop- would own not only the face of the earth erty).
within the boundaries of his proprietorship, My land, see My.
but also everything under it and over it. An Other lands, see Other.
imaginary person living in such a state of Raw prairie land, see Raw.
nature would be at liberty to use his land as Right of way as land itself, see Right of he pleased to build on it to any height and to Way.
dig into it to any depth without restraint. See, also, Real Property.
But as man was formed for society and is “Land” is a term used to designate all incapable of living alone, organized society real estate, just as money is used to desig- is essential to his well-being and happiness, nate the whole volume of the medium of ex- and every person who enters society must change. Montgomery County v. Cochran, 121 give up a part of his so-called natural rights Fed. 17, 21, 57 C. C. A. 261.
and liberty for the benefit of the communi"The word 'land'
ty. Cochran v. Preston, 70 Atl. 113, 114, 108
comprehends ground, soil, or earth, pastures, woods,
Md. 220, 23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1163, 129 Am. springs, wells, lakes, ponds, and all things St. Rep. 432, 15 Ann. Cas. 1048 (citing i
Bl. Comm. p. 125). that have become a fixed part of the soil." Orchard v. Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Store Land in its broadest signification inCo., 125 S. W. 486, 494, 225 Mo. 414, 20 Ann. cludes not only the surface of the earth but Cas. 1072.
the mines, quarries, and everything under it; 3 WDS. & P.2D SER.-1
and whoever has the fee in the surface pre sense, and includes both the soil and buildsumptively owns everything of a permanent ings and other structures on it, and any and nature under or over it. Notwithstanding it all interests therein." In assessment of damis competent for the owner to convey the ages in proceedings for condemnation of land, mines or quarries by a separate grant vest- the appraisers should value the land taken ing in one person a freehold in the soil and with the buildings on it, and it will be prein another a freehold in the mines or quar- sumed that the buildings were included in ries and to sever the ownership of the sur- the award. Stauffer v. Cincinnati, R. & M. face from the ownership from that which is R. R., 70 N. E. 543, 544, 33 Ind. App. 356 under it, there may exist a double owner- (quoting Lewis, Em. Dom. [2d Ed.) § 285; ship or two freeholds in the same parcel of citing Brocket v. Obio & P. R. Co., 14 Pa. land. Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Boykin, 76 241, 53 Am. Dec. 534; State v. Reed, 38 N. Ala. 560, 563 (citing 2 Washb. Real Prop. H. 59; Mills, Em. Dom. $$ 49, 223). 375).
The word "land" comprehends ground, The word "land" includes not only the soil, or earth, pastures, woods, spring, wells, soil, but everything attached to it, whether lakes, ponds, and all things which have beattached by the course of nature, as trees, come a fixed part of the soil. The word herbage, and water, or by the hand of man, “tenement,” in its ordinary meaning, means as buildings and fences. Crawford Co. v. a "house,” which is the subject of tenure, Hathaway, 93 N. W. 781, 788, 67 Neb. 325, 60 and includes, not only corporeal hereditaL. R. A. 889, 108 Am. St. Rep. 617 (citing ments, which are or may be held, but also all McGee Irrigating Ditch Co. v. Hudson (Tex.) inheritances issuing out of any of these in22 S. W. 967).
heritances, or concerning or annexed to or Anderson's Law Dict. says that the exercised within the same, though they lie word "land" comprehends all things of a not in tenure. “Tenement" is a word of permanent and substantial nature, being a greater scope than “lands," and though, in word of very comprehensive significance. its vulgar acceptation, is only applied to Act Feb. 22, 1851, pp. 64, 65, is entitled “An houses and other buildings, yet, in its origact for the benefit of William Jewell College. inal, proper, and legal sense, it signifies anyCertain lands owned by William Jewell Col- thing that may be holden, provided it be of a lege exempted from tax." And section 1 permanent nature, whether of a substantial provides that “all the land and improvements and sensible, or of an unsubstantial, ideal, thereon now owned by the William Jewell
kind. The term “hereditaments" includes College * and all the lands that may rights unconnected with land, but generally hereafter be granted or devised to said col- used as the widest expression for real proplege, or any other institution of learning in erty of all kinds, being divided into real herthis state, for the benefit of education, be, editaments, which are lands and tenements, and the same are hereby, exempted from all and personal hereditaments, which are rights taxes
so long as said lands may be concerning neither lands nor tenements. As owned by said college." Section 2 releases
so defined, neither the term “tenement" nor from delinquent taxes the "land" belonging hereditament” includes in law a lease of to the college in the counties named, and lands for years. Orchard v. Wright-Daltonsection 3 makes it a misdemeanor to willfully Bell-Anchor Store Co., 125 S. W. 486, 494, injure or destroy timber, etc., from any of 225 Mo. 414, 20 Ann, Cas. 1072. the lands belonging to the college. The en In common speech the nonmineral portion tire endowment fund of the college was in of land, the portion which covers and enlands when the act was passed, the colleges velopes the minerals, is called the "surface" of that time being generally endowed in land of the land, and the proprietor of land who alone, and the charters of a number of col-devests himself of title to the minerals which leges perpetually relieved them from taxa- it contains is still spoken of as the owner of tion on all kinds of property. Held, that the the fee or of the surface or of the land. word "land" as used in the act will be con- Kansas Natural Gas Co. v. Board of Com’rs strued to include personalty, so that the col- of Neosho County, 89 Pac. 750, 751, 75 Kan. lege cannot be taxed on its endowment fund, 335. · consisting of personalty. State ex rel. Wall The word "land," as a conveyance, carer v. Trustees of William Jewell College, 136 ries every kind of property, right, and appurS. W. 397, 399, 401, 402, 234 Mo, 299.
tenance which is legally embraced in that The term "land" in statutes conferring word, but what rights go to a patentee of power to condemn is to be taken in the legal land depend, not upon any supposed adjudisense, and includes both the soil and build-cation contained in the patent, but upon the ings and other structures on it and all inter- / general law of the state where the land is ests therein. White v. Cincinnati, R. & M. situated. City of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles R. R., 71 N. E. 276, 278, 34 Ind. App. 287 Farming & Milling Co., 93 Pac. 869, 871, 152 (quoting and adopting definition in Lewis, Cal. 615. Em. Dom. [2d Ed.] $ 285).
A will whereby testator devised farm "The term “land,' in statutes conferring lands to his daughters for life, remainder in power to condemn, is to be taken in the legal' fee simple to their children, and whereby he
provided that they might sell their respective, the "ties, tracks, poles, rails and switches" lands, proceeds to be reinvested in "lands" as such or apart from the franchise. Los to be held for the same use, and that pur- Angeles Pac. Co. v. Hubbard, 121 Pac. 306, chaser must see that the reinvestment was 308, 17 Cal. App. 646. made before acquiring title to land devised,
The vendee's right to specific performdid not require reinvestment in farm lands, ance of a contract to convey land is "lands” but reinvestment could be made in city real and "real estate” within the statute definiestate; the word "lands” including every tion (Rev. St. § 4971, subd. 9), as including form of real estate. Clay v. Bogie (Ky.) 119 “lands, tenements and hereditaments and all S. W. 737, 738.
rights thereto and interests therein." The Statutory definitions
lands, on the vendee's death, descend at once, "Gen. St. 1901, $ 7342, defines the word by operation of law to his children (Rev. St. 'land' in the phrases 'real estate' and 'real 8 2270, subd. 1). An administrator cannot property' as including lands, tenements, and sue to compel specific performance of a conhereditaments and all rights thereto and in- | tract to convey land to his decedent, the terest therein, equitable as well as legal.” price for which has been paid, where it does Clarke v. Lawrence, 88 Pac. 735, 738, 75 Kan. not appear that the administrator is in pos26.
session, or that the personal assets of the esThe word "land" or "lands," as used in tate are insufficient to pay the debts. CarCode 1899, c. 13, § 17, cl. 16, relating to taxa- penter v. Fopper, 68 N. W. 874, 94 Wis. 146. tion, expressly includes lands, tenements, and As agricultural or grazing land hereditaments, and all rights thereto and in
"Lands of the state," as used in the title terests therein, except chattel interests and of act to promote public health, etc., by drain. chattels real. Harvey Coal, etc., Co. v. Dil- ing such lands, included agricultural lands. lon, 53 S. E. 928, 936, 59 W. Va. 605.
Sisson v. Board of Sup’rs of Buena Vista Under Ky. St. 1909, $ 458, providing that County, 104 N. W. 454, 458, 128 Iowa, 442, the words “real estate" or "land" shall be 70 L. R. A. 440. construed to mean any interest other than a In Rev. Civ. St. 1897, 8 4218fff, prescribchattel interest, and section 470, providing ing the classified free school, asylum, and that no action shall be brought upon a con- | public lands subject to sale to actual settlers, tract relating to real estate unless in writing, the terms "land" and "other lands” are used a parol contract to board and care for the in the popular sense was not embracing town owner of a life estate in land in consideration lots, but meaning agricultural or grazing of the use of the land is void, though board lands." Conn v. Terrell, 80 S. W. 608, 609, was furnished in reliance on the contract. 97 Tex. 578. Hampton v. Glass (Ky.) 116 S. W. 243, 244.
Building or other structure Under the statutes declaring that the word "land," and the phrases “real estate," includes all castles, houses, and other build
According to Blackstone, "land" legally and “real property,” shall include lands, ten- ings, for they consist of two things land, ements, hereditaments and all rights thereto which is the foundation, and the structure and interests therein equitable as well as legal, and providing that lands not exempt by try title disclaimed any title or interest in
thereupon. Where defendant in trespass to law shall be liable to be taken on execution, the land, but claimed title to a house standland held by an equitable title may be levied ing thereon, the plea of the three year statupon and sold by virtue of an execution. ute of limitations was without application; Poole v. French, 80 Pac. 997, 1000, 71 Kan. the land legally including all houses. Fidel391.
ity Cotton Oil & Fertilizer Co. v. Martin Laws 1903, p. 376, relating to street open- (Tex.) 136 S. W. 533. ings, requires by section 15 that each lot, piece, or parcel of land be designated upon
An assessment under Pub. St. 1901, c. 79, a diagram as a basis for assessments. Sec- | $8 4, 8, authorizing an assessment on lands tion 17 requires the amount of assessment to receiving special benefits from the construcbe set opposite each lot, piece, or parcel of tion of a sewer, for their just share for the land which under section 20 is made a lien cost of construction and maintenance, etc., upon the property assessed. These sections recognizes the ownership of buildings on lands and sections 23 and 26, use the terms "prop- of another, and buildings so situate are real erty," "lands,” and “each lot, piece or parcel estate for the purposes of assessment, and of land," interchangeably. Held that, in re are properly assessed to the owner thereof; quiring the superintendent of streets to as- such buildings being "lands.” Granite State sess the benefits from street improvements on
Land Co. v. Town of Hampton, 79 Atl. 25, the property of any street railroad within the 29, 76 N. H. 1. assessment district, the word “property" was "Under the general tax law, and by the used in a limited sense and as referring to general understanding, the term “lands,' when that species of property designated as “land," used with reference to assessments for purwhich as defined by Civ. Code, 8 659, is “the poses of taxation, includes with the land solid material of the earth," and hence there above or under water all constructions which was no authority for an assessment against have been erected upon or affixed thereto.”