|n.||1.||(Law) the life estate which a husband has in the lands of his deceased wife, which by the common law takes effect where he has had issue by her, born alive, and capable of inheriting the lands.|
CURTESY, or COURTESY, Scotch law. A life-rent given by law to the surviving husband, of all his wife's heritage of which she died intest, if there was a child of the marriage born alive. The child born of the marriage must be the mother's heir. If she had a child by a former marriage, who is to succeed to her estate, the husband has no right to the curtesy while such child is alive; so that the curtesy is due to the husband rather as father to the heir, than as husband to an heiress, conformable to the Roman law, which gives to the father the usufruct of what the child succeeds to by the mother. Ersk. Pr. L. Scot. B. 2, t. 9, s. 30. Vide Estate by the curtesy.