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curtesy n

pl: -sies
[Anglo-French curteisie, literally, favor, courtesy, originally in the phrase par la corteysie de Engleterre (tenancy) by courtesy of (the law of) England (as opposed to natural right)]
: a husband's interest at common law in a life estate upon the death of his wife in the real property that she either solely owned or inherited provided that they bore a child capable of inheriting the property compare dower, elective share

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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