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1. The ever-present, oppressive influence of past events: "Psychotherapy explores the ways in which the past has shaped people, and how its dead hand continues to deform their lives" (James S. Gordon).
[Middle English dede hond, translation of Old French mortemain or Medieval Latin manus mortua, mortmain.]
1. an oppressive or discouraging influence or factor: the dead hand of centralized control.
2. (Law) law a less common word for mortmain
1. the condition of lands or tenements held without right of alienation, as by an ecclesiastical corporation.
2. the perpetual holding of land, esp. by a corporation or charitable trust.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, translation of Medieval Latin mortua manus dead hand]
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|Noun||1.||dead hand - real property held inalienably (as by an ecclesiastical corporation)|
corp, corporation - a business firm whose articles of incorporation have been approved in some state
|2.||dead hand - the oppressive influence of past events or decisions|
influence - a power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc; "used her parents' influence to get the job"