The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Fee \Fee\ (f[=e]), n. [OE. fe, feh, feoh, cattle, property,
money, fief, 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. fehu cattle, property, D.
vee cattle, OHG. fihu, fehu, G. vieh, Icel. f[=e] cattle,
property, money, Goth. fa['i]hu, L. pecus cattle, pecunia
property, money, Skr. pa[,c]u 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. [root]249. Cf. Feud,
Fief, Fellow, Pecuniary.]
1. property; possession; tenure. "Laden with rich fee."
Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee.
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
To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.
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.
Note: 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
qualified or base fee, which ceases with the existence
of certain conditions; or a conditional fee, or fee
tail, which is limited to particular heirs.
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 estate (Eng. Law), land or tenements held in fee in
consideration or some acknowledgment or service rendered
to the lord.
Fee farm (Law), land held of another in fee, in
consideration of an annual rent, without homage, fealty,
or any other service than that mentioned in the feoffment;
an estate in fee simple, subject to a perpetual rent.
Fee farm rent (Eng. Law), a perpetual rent reserved upon a
conveyance in fee simple.
Fee fund (Scot. Law), certain court dues out of which the
clerks and other court officers are paid.
Fee simple (Law), an absolute fee; a fee without conditions
Buy the fee simple of my life for an hour and a
Fee tail (Law), an estate of inheritance, limited and
restrained to some particular heirs. --Burill.