• WordNet 3.6
    • n demesne territory over which rule or control is exercised "his domain extended into Europe","he made it the law of the land"
    • n demesne extensive landed property (especially in the country) retained by the owner for his own use "the family owned a large estate on Long Island"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Demesne (Law) 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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n demesne Power; dominion; possession. See demain.
    • n demesne A manor-house and the land adjacent or near, which a lord of the manor keeps in his own occupation, for the use of his family, as distinguished from his tenemental lands, distributed among his tenants, originally called bookland or charter-land, and folk-land or estates held in villeinage, from which sprang copyhold estates. Copyhold estates, however, have been accounted demesnes, because the tenants are judged to have their estates only at the will of the lord.
    • n demesne Any estate in land.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Demesne de-mēn′ a manor-house, with lands adjacent to it not let out to tenants: any estate in land.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. demeine, demain, rule, demesne, OF. demeine, demaine, demeigne, domaine, power, F. domaine, domain, fr. L. dominium, property, right of ownership, fr. dominus, master, proprietor, owner. See Dame, and cf. Demain Domain Danger Dungeon
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Forms of domain.


In literature:

They reached the high wall which bounded the demesne of Dunseveric House.
"The Northern Iron" by George A. Birmingham
There are fields stretching back from the demesne which used to be mine.
"Gossamer" by George A. Birmingham
He has enclosed a rich meadow that runs by the bank of the Elbe, and treats it as his demesne.
"Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary, Visited in 1837. Vol. II" by G. R. Gleig
Barstow's way led him shortly to the edge of a curious demesne, or rather the debris of an estate.
"In a Little Town" by Rupert Hughes
The demesne lands at Frognal occupied from four to five hundred acres of the best land stretching from Child's Hill to Belsize.
"Hampstead and Marylebone" by Geraldine Edith Mitton
There is not a nobleman's demesne that does not cover untold wealth in some shape or form.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
It was a royal demesne in Edward I.
"England, Picturesque and Descriptive" by Joel Cook
In the course of the morning, Mr. Jones sent for Florian, and proposed to walk out with him about the demesne.
"The Landleaguers" by Anthony Trollope
With large demesnes, hereditary wealth.
"Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 4, September, 1850" by Various
There was an appearance of respectability and opulence about all the demesnes.
"The May Flower, and Miscellaneous Writings" by Harriet Beecher Stowe

In poetry:

I wonder if Outside may be
One fair and great demesne
Where both gates open, careless of
The Town that lies between?
"The Town Between" by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay
In this tower by mad winds assaulted,
Sat ever Tamara, the Queen--
A heavenly angel of beauty,
With a spirit of hell's own demesne.
"Tamara" by Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov
Often an early King or Queen,
And storied hero onward, knew his sheen;
'Twas glimpsed by Wolfe, by Ney anon,
And Nelson on his blue demesne.
"The Sick God." by Thomas Hardy
Long ago we guessed it, faithful ghosts,
Proudly chose the present for our scene,
And sent out indomitable hosts
Day by day to widen our demesne.
"All Saints" by Edith Wharton
Below their sun-bright passes, leading palely down
To meadows never seen,
Are fruits that star with shadowy gold the strange demesne,
The purple realms of peace that bear no tower nor town.
"Cumuli" by Clark Ashton Smith
"No ... though his goods, and flocks, and herds abound;
His wide demesne to fair profusion grown;
Though proud his lofty mansion looks around,
On hills, and fields, and forests, all his owns
"Love's Triumph" by Nathaniel Bloomfield