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[chat-l] /ˈtʃæt l/
Law. a movable article of personal property.
any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
a slave.
Origin of chattel
1175-1225; Middle English chatel < Old French. See cattle
1. See property. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chattel
  • Handicapped children aren't chattel and parenthood isn't a license to do away with unwanted children.
  • They are our companions and our chattel, our family members and our laborers, our household pets and our household pests.
  • However, the fact that a chattel exists does not end the inquiry with regard to preferred venue.
  • The amount of the bond is twice the value of the chattel listed in the motion, complaint or affidavit.
  • Lease for ninety-nine years is a chattel real and therefore real estate.
British Dictionary definitions for chattel


(often pl) (property law)
  1. chattel personal, an item of movable personal property, such as furniture, domestic animals, etc
  2. chattel real, an interest in land less than a freehold, such as a lease
goods and chattels, personal property
Word Origin
C13: from Old French chatel personal property, from Medieval Latin capitāle wealth; see capital1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chattel

early 13c., chatel "property, goods," from Old French chatel "chattels, goods, wealth, possessions, property; profit; cattle," from Late Latin capitale "property" (see cattle, which is the Old North French form of the same word). Application to slaves (1640s) is a rhetorical figure of abolitionists, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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