from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Situated or running side by side; parallel.
  • adjective Coinciding in tendency or effect; concomitant or accompanying.
  • adjective Serving to support or corroborate.
  • adjective Of a secondary nature; subordinate.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or guaranteed by a security pledged against the performance of an obligation.
  • adjective Having an ancestor in common but descended from a different line.
  • noun Property acceptable as security for a loan or other obligation.
  • noun A collateral relative.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Situated at the side: belonging to the side or to what is at the side; hence, occupying a secondary or subordinate position.
  • Acting indirectly; acting through side channels.
  • Accompanying; attendant, especially as an auxiliary; aiding, strengthening, confirming, etc., in a secondary or subordinate way: as, collateral aid; collateral security (see below); collateral evidence.
  • Descending from the same stock or ancestor (commonly male) as another, but in a different line: distinguished from lineal.
  • In botany, standing side by side: as, collateral ovules.
  • In geometry, having a common edge, as two adjoining faces of a polyhedron.
  • noun A kinsman or relative descended from a common ancestor, but not in direct line.
  • noun Anything of value, or representing value, as bonds, deeds, etc., pledged as security in addition to a direct obligation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A collateral relative.
  • noun Collateral security; that which is pledged or deposited as collateral security.
  • adjective Coming from, being on, or directed toward, the side.
  • adjective Acting in an indirect way.
  • adjective Related to, but not strictly a part of, the main thing or matter under consideration; hence, subordinate; not chief or principal.
  • adjective Tending toward the same conclusion or result as something else; additional.
  • adjective (Genealogy) Descending from the same stock or ancestor, but not in the same line or branch or one from the other; -- opposed to lineal.
  • adjective that which is made, over and above the deed itself.
  • adjective (Med. & Physiol.) circulation established through indirect or subordinate branches when the supply through the main vessel is obstructed.
  • adjective (Law) A point raised, on cross-examination, aside from the issue fixed by the pleadings, as to which the answer of the witness, when given, cannot subsequently be contradicted by the party asking the question.
  • adjective security for the performance of covenants, or the payment of money, besides the principal security.
  • adjective (Mil.) damage caused by a military operation, such as a bombing, to objects or persons not themselves the intended target of the attack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective parallel, along the same vein, side by side.
  • adjective Corresponding; accompanying, concomitant.
  • adjective being aside from the main subject; tangential, subordinate, ancillary.
  • adjective family of an indirect ancestral relationship, as opposed to lineal descendency.
  • adjective relating to a collateral in the sense of an obligation or security
  • adjective expensive to the extent of being paid through a loan
  • noun A security or guarantee (usually an asset) pledged for the repayment of a loan if one cannot procure enough funds to repay. (Originally supplied as "accompanying" security.)
  • noun A collateral (not linear) family member.
  • noun A branch of a bodily part or system of organs

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

  • adjective accompany, concomitant
  • adjective situated or running side by side
  • adjective descended from a common ancestor but through different lines
  • adjective serving to support or corroborate
  • noun a security pledged for the repayment of a loan


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

[Middle English, from Medieval Latin collaterālis : Latin com-, com- + Latin latus, later-, side.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since c.1378, from Old French, from Medieval Latin collaterālis, from Latin col- ("together with") (a form of con-) + the stem of latus ("side").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word collateral.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.