Emolument Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Emolument, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Emolument?

n. salary, wages and benefits paid for employment or an office held.

History and Meaning of Emolument

Emolument refers to any compensation, salary, fee, or profit that arises from employment or holding public office. The term has a long history dating back to Roman law, where it was defined as any kind of compensation or reward received for work or services rendered. In the United States, the term emolument is best known for its appearance in the U.S. Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause, which prohibits federal officeholders from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without congressional approval.

Examples of Emolument

  1. The president of a company received a large emolument for successfully negotiating a merger with another firm.
  2. The governor of a state earns a fixed emolument that does not increase during their term in office.
  3. A city council member is entitled to an emolument in the form of a stipend for attending meetings and performing official duties.
  4. An investment banker might receive a sizable emolument in the form of a year-end bonus.
  5. The CEO of a non-profit organization receives a modest emolument that is capped according to the organization's bylaws.

Legal Terms Similar to Emolument

  1. Compensation: An umbrella term that refers to any form of payment, reimbursement, or benefit that an employee or officer receives in exchange for their services.
  2. Remuneration: A synonym for compensation that refers specifically to payment for work done or services rendered.
  3. Perquisite: A benefit, privilege, or bonus that is typically exclusive to someone's employment or position.