Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To enforce (a lien, deed of trust, or mortgage) in whatever manner is provided for by law.
  • intransitive verb To bring a suit to prevent a mortgagor from redeeming (a property) by paying any outstanding debt.
  • intransitive verb To exclude or rule out; bar.
  • intransitive verb To settle or resolve beforehand.
  • intransitive verb To enforce a lien, deed of trust, or mortgage as permitted by law.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To shut out; exclude; prevent.
  • In law: To shut out by a judicial decree from further opportunity to assert a right or claim: said of the process by which all persons previously having right to redeem property from a forfeiture for non-payment of a debt are finally cut off from that right: as, to foreclose a mortgager of his equity of redemption.
  • Hence— To enforce, as a mortgage, by shutting out in due process of law a mortgager and those claiming under him from the right to redeem the property mortgaged.
  • To enforce a mortgage.

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

  • transitive verb To shut up or out; to preclude; to stop; to prevent; to bar; to exclude.
  • transitive verb (Law) to cut him off by a judgment of court from the power of redeeming the mortgaged premises, termed his equity of redemption.
  • transitive verb (not technically correct, but often used to signify) the obtaining a judgment for the payment of an overdue mortgage, and the exposure of the mortgaged property to sale to meet the mortgage debt.

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

  • verb to repossess a mortgaged property whose owner has failed to make the necessary payments
  • verb to prevent from doing something

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

  • verb keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  • verb subject to foreclosing procedures; take away the right of mortgagors to redeem their mortgage

Etymologies

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

[Middle English forclosen, to exclude from an inheritance, from Old French forclos, shut out, past participle of forclore, to exclude : fors-, outside (from Latin forīs; see dhwer- in Indo-European roots) + clore, to close (from Latin claudere).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English foreclosen, forclosen, from Old French forclos, past participle of forclore ("to exclude"), from for + clore ("to shut"). Some senses originated from or were influenced by Middle English forclusen ("to close up"), from Old English forclȳsan ("to close up"), equivalent to for- +‎ close.

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