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homestead

1. In the United States, under the Homestead Act of 1862, a tract of unoccupied public land, 160 acres in area, that could be permanently acquired after five years of continuous occupancy and the payment of a fee. The Act was passed by the Congress to promote westward expansion and for the purposes of revenue; this quantity of acreage was deemed adequate for the support of one family. Any citizen who settled on such survey public land could purchase it from the government if he was the head of a family and over 21 years of age.
2. The house built on such a tract.
3. (Brit.) A group of buildings and the land forming the home of a family.