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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.
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 liens
  • There ae potential problems with the mortgage holder, secondary liens, and indemnification.
  • Construction loans generally are secured by first liens on real estate.
  • liens may be divided into three general categories: common-law liens, consensual liens, and statutory liens.
  • Allows for the attachment of mechanics' liens for the rental of equipment or machinery.
  • The simplest way to prevent liens is to pay with joint checks.
British Dictionary definitions for liens


/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 liens



"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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liens 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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liens 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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