from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Law An article of movable personal property.
  • n. A slave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Commonly used to describe the treatment of Russian serfs as property.
  • n. Tangible, movable property.
  • n. A slave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any item of movable or immovable property except the freehold, or the things which are parcel of it. It is a more extensive term than goods or effects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Property; wealth; goods; stock. See cattle
  • n. An article of personal property; a movable: usually in the plural, goods; movable assets.
  • n. Synonyms Effects, Goods, etc. See property.
  • To regard as a chattel; reduce to the condition of a chattel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)


Middle English chatel, movable property, from Old French, from Medieval Latin capitāle; see cattle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English chatel, from Old French chatel, from Latin capitale (English capital). Compare cattle ("cows"), which is from an Anglo-Norman variant. Compare also capital and kith and kine ("all one’s possessions"), which also use “cow” to mean “property”. (Wiktionary)



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  • Pronunciation:

    Middle English chatel- property, from Anglo-French, common root with cattle

    1 : an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (as buildings) connected with real property
    2 : slave, bondsman

    October 27, 2007