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[leen, lee-uh n] /lin, ˈli ən/
Law. the legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.
Origin of lien1
1525-35; < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin ligāmen tie, bandage, equivalent to ligā(re) to tie + -men noun suffix of result
Related forms
lienable, adjective


[lahy-uh n, -en] /ˈlaɪ ən, -ɛn/
noun, Anatomy
the spleen.
1645-55; < Latin liēn spleen
Related forms
[lahy-een-l, lahy-uh-nl] /laɪˈin l, ˈlaɪ ə nl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lien
  • With a reverse mortgage, she said, the lender has a lien against the property.
  • The party who holds the lien can sell the property to pay off a debt.
  • Those who filed liens against the owner before the board filed its lien would have priority.
  • Good people do not have an exclusive lien on good ideas.
  • Now, he confesses, he's broke and has a lien against his home.
  • They even waived the late fees and penalties, and then walked me through the process of registering the lien properly.
  • But if a second lien is in place, then it should take place ahead of that new mortgage.
  • If his income is garnished, or her creditors put a lien on your joint house or checking account, you both have a problem.
  • In a tax lien sale, you buy the right to collect on the tax lien.
  • If she ever tries to buy a house, they will be able to put a lien on it.
British Dictionary definitions for lien


/ˈliːən; liːn/
(law) a right to retain possession of another's property pending discharge of a debt
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin ligāmen bond, from ligāre to bind
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 lien

"right to hold property of another until debt is paid," 1530s, from Middle French lien "a band or tie," from Latin ligamen "bond," from ligare "to bind, tie" (see ligament).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lien in Medicine

lien li·en (lī'ən, -ěn')
The spleen.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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lien in Culture
lien [(leen, lee-uhn)]

A claim or right given to a creditor to secure payment of a debt, usually by sale of the debtor's property.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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