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Mesne (pronounced as “meen;” but also “meien” and “mean”) is an Anglo-French term that translates to intermediate or intervening (or the middle point between two extremes) in legal context. The Bouvier Law Dictionary explains that the term mesne was frequently used in feudal law to depict the role of a person or interest subordinate to one person's role or interest but superior to another's. The word was used in varied forms, such as, mesne lord, mesne process, mesne profits, etc. A mesne lord is a landlord who has tenants holding under him, while himself was answerable to a superior lord. Mesne process is a writ issued in the course of a lawsuit between the beginning and end of the process. Mesne profits are profits derived from land while in wrongful possession. Today, the term is seldom used except for the phrase “mesne profits.”

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]