free and clear

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English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

free and clear (not comparable)

  1. (law, of a possession) In a condition of lawful outright ownership, without restrictions or encumbrances.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, ch. 1:
      [T]hey cannot at once name a dozen in the town who own their farms free and clear.
    • 1905, Horatio Alger, From Farm to Fortune, ch. 21:
      I have been trying to get a free and clear title to the land for a client of mine.
    • 2011 Nov. 17, Vickie Elmer, "Inheriting a Home, and a Loan," New York Times (retrieved 6 June 2014):
      The will might stipulate, for example, that the heir receive the home, free and clear, Ms. Wheatley-Liss said, which may mean that the executor will be directed to sell stocks, bonds or other assets in the estate to pay off the mortgage.
  2. (law, of a person) Possessing such lawful outright ownership.
    • 1949, Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Requiem:
      I made the last payment on the house today. . . . We’re free and clear.
    • 2010 Nov. 10, Kate Taylor, "Title Insurance Concept Spreads Into Art Sales," New York Times (retrieved 6 June 2014):
      Though standard in real estate transactions, the concept of title insurance, which guarantees that a seller is the free and clear owner, has been resisted by the art world.

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