Liv"er*y (?), n.; pl. Liveries (#). [OE. livere, F. livr'ee, formerly, a gift of clothes made by the master to his servants, prop., a thing delivered, fr. livrer to deliver, L. liberare to set free, in LL., to deliver up. See Liberate.]

1. Eng.Law (a)

The act of delivering possession of lands or tenements.

(b)

The writ by which possession is obtained.

It is usual to say, livery of seizin, which is a feudal investiture, made by the delivery of a turf, of a rod, or twig, from the feoffor to the feoffee. In the United States, and now in Great Britain, no such ceremony is necessary, the delivery of a deed being sufficient.

2.

Release from wardship; deliverance.

It concerned them first to sue out their livery from the unjust wardship of his encroaching prerogative. Milton.

3.

That which is delivered out statedly or formally, as clothing, food, etc.

; especially: (a)

The uniform clothing issued by feudal superiors to their retainers and serving as a badge when in military service.

(b)

The peculiar dress by which the servants of a nobleman or gentleman are distinguished; as, a claret-colored livery.

(c)

Hence, also, the peculiar dress or garb appropriated by any association or body of persons to their own use; as, the livery of the London tradesmen, of a priest, of a charity school, etc.; also, the whole body or company of persons wearing such a garb, and entitled to the privileges of the association; as, the whole livery of London.

A Haberdasher and a Carpenter, A Webbe, a Dyer, and a Tapicer, And they were clothed all in one livery Of a solempne and a gret fraternite. Chaucer.

From the periodical deliveries of these characteristic articles of servile costume (blue coats) came our word livery. De Quincey.

(d)

Hence, any characteristic dress or outward appearance

. " April's livery." Sir P. Sidney.

Now came still evening on, and twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad. Milton.

(e)

An allowance of food statedly given out; a ration, as to a family, to servants, to horses, etc.

The emperor's officers every night went through the town from house to house whereat any English gentleman did repast or lodge, and served their liveries for all night: first, the officers brought into the house a cast of fine manchet [white bread], and of silver two great post, and white wine, and sugar. Cavendish.

(f)

The feeding, stabling, and care of horses for compensation; boarding; as, to keep one's horses at livery

.

What livery is, we by common use in England know well enough, namely, that is, allowance of horse meat, as to keep horses at livery, the which word, I guess, is derived of livering or delivering forth their nightly food. Spenser.

It need hardly be observed that the explanation of livery which Spenser offers is perfectly correct, but . . . it is no longer applied to the ration or stated portion of food delivered at stated periods. Trench.

(g)

The keeping of horses in readiness to be hired temporarily for riding or driving; the state of being so kept

.

Pegasus does not stand at livery even at the largest establishment in Moorfields. Lowell.

4.

A low grade of wool.

Livery gown, the gown worn by a liveryman in London.

 

© Webster 1913.


Liv"er*y, v. t.

To clothe in, or as in, livery.

Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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