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From Middle English eschete, from Anglo-Norman escheat, Old French eschet, escheit, escheoit (that which falls to one), from the past participle of escheoir (to fall), from Vulgar Latin *excadō, from Latin ex + cadō (I fall).



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escheat (countable and uncountable, plural escheats)

  1. (law) The return of property of a deceased person to the state (originally to a feudal lord) where there are no legal heirs or claimants.
  2. (law) The property so reverted.
  3. (obsolete) Plunder, booty.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.viii:
      Approching, with bold words and bitter threat, / Bad that same boaster, as he mote, on high / To leaue to him that Lady for excheat, / Or bide him battell without further treat.
  4. That which falls to one; a reversion or return.
    • Spenser
      To make me great by others' loss is bad escheat.



escheat (third-person singular simple present escheats, present participle escheating, simple past and past participle escheated)

  1. (of property) To revert to a state or lord because its previous owner died without an heir.

Derived terms[edit]