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

  • noun A loan for the purchase of real property, secured by a lien on the property.
  • noun The document specifying the terms and conditions of the repayment of such a loan.
  • noun The repayment obligation associated with such a loan.
  • noun The right to payment associated with such a loan.
  • noun The lien on the property associated with such a loan.
  • transitive verb To pledge (real property) as the security for a loan.
  • transitive verb To make subject to a claim or risk; pledge against a doubtful outcome.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun At common law (and according to the present rule in some of the United States, and in form in nearly all, if not all, the States), a conveyance of real estate or some interest therein, defeasible upon the payment of money or the performance of some other condition.
  • noun By the law of most of the United States, a lien or charge upon specific property, real or personal, created by what purports to be an express transfer of title, with or without possession, but accompanied by a condition that the transfer shall be void if in due time the money be paid or the thing done to secure which the transfer is given.
  • noun A state or condition resembling that of mortgaged property.
  • To grant (land, houses, or other immovable property) as security for money lent or contracted to be paid, or other obligation, on condition that if the obligation shall be discharged according to the contract the grant shall be void, otherwise it shall remain in full force. See mortgage, n., 1.
  • To pledge; make liable; put to pledge; make liable for the payment of any debt or expenditure; put in a position similar to that of being pledged.

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

  • transitive verb (Law) To grant or convey, as property, for the security of a debt, or other engagement, upon a condition that if the debt or engagement shall be discharged according to the contract, the conveyance shall be void, otherwise to become absolute, subject, however, to the right of redemption.
  • transitive verb Hence: To pledge, either literally or figuratively; to make subject to a claim or obligation.
  • noun (Law) A conveyance of property, upon condition, as security for the payment of a debt or the preformance of a duty, and to become void upon payment or performance according to the stipulated terms; also, the written instrument by which the conveyance is made.
  • noun State of being pledged.
  • noun See under Chattel.
  • noun See under Foreclose.
  • noun (Law) a deed given by way of mortgage.

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

  • noun A special form of secured loan where the purpose of the loan must be specified to the lender, to purchase assets that must be fixed (not movable) property such as a house or piece of farm land. The assets are registered as the legal property of the borrower but the lender can seize them and dispose of them if they are not satisfied with the manner in which the repayment of the loan is conducted by the borrower. Once the loan is fully repaid, the lender loses this right of seizure and the assets are then deemed to be unencumbered.
  • verb As in "to mortgage a property", to borrow against a property, to obtain a loan for another purpose by giving away the right of seizure to the lender over a fixed property such as a house or piece of land.

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

  • noun a conditional conveyance of property as security for the repayment of a loan
  • verb put up as security or collateral


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

[Middle English morgage, from Old French : mort, dead (from Vulgar Latin *mortus, from Latin mortuus, past participle of morī, to die; see mer- in Indo-European roots) + gage, pledge (of Germanic origin).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman mortgage, Middle French mortgage, from Old French mort gage ("dead pledge"), after a translation of judicial Medieval Latin mortuum vadium or mortuum wadium , from mortuum + vadium or wadium, of Germanic (Frankish) origin, from a root *waddi, wadja. Cf. gage and also wage.


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  • “dead pledge�?.

    If the money is not repaid within the allotted time, property is taken from the borrower and is thereafter ‘dead’ to him. If it is repaid, then the debt itself is ‘dead’.

    December 5, 2008