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LAND, the general term for that part of the earth’s surface which is solid and dry as opposed to sea or water. The word is common to Teutonic languages, mainly in the same form and with essentially the same meaning. The Celtic cognate forms are Irish lann, Welsh llan, an enclosure, also in the sense of “church,” and so of constant occurrence in Welsh place-names, Cornish lan and Breton lann, health, which has given the French lande, an expanse or tract of sandy waste ground. The ultimate root is unknown. From its primary meaning have developed naturally the various uses of the word, for a tract of ground or country viewed either as a political, geographical or ethnographical division of the earth, as property owned by the public or state or by a private individual, or as the rural as opposed to the urban or the cultivated as opposed to the built on part of the country; of particular meanings may be mentioned that of a building divided into tenements or flats, the divisions being known as “houses,” a Scottish usage, and also that of a division of a ploughed field marked by the irrigating channels, hence transferred to the smooth parts of the bore of a rifle between the grooves of the rifling.

For the physical geography of the land, as the solid portion of the earth’s surface, see Geography. For land as the subject of cultivation see Agriculture and Soil, also Reclamation of Land. For the history of the holding or tenure of land see Village Communities and Feudalism; a particular form of land tenure is dealt with under Métayage. The article Agrarian Laws deals with the disposal of the public land (Ager publicus) in Ancient Rome, and further information with regard to the part played by the land question in Roman history will be found under Rome: § History. The legal side of the private ownership of land is treated under Real Property and Conveyancing (see also Landlord and Tenant, and Land Registration).

Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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