Definition of collateral in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈlat(ə)r(ə)l/


1 [mass noun] Something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default: she put her house up as collateral for the bank loan
More example sentences
  • Because most of its hard assets, such as airplanes, already are pledged as loan collateral, the company has said that it will not seek additional investors at this time.
  • CMAs are also required to maintain inventories of each class and grade of grain at least equal to the quantity pledged as loan collateral.
  • By the stroke of a government pen and without having invested one single cent, the Larrakia now have a major asset to use as collateral for a bank loan.
security, surety, guarantee, guaranty, pledge, bond, assurance, insurance, indemnity, indemnification, pawn, backing;
bail, hostage
archaic gage, earnest
2A person having the same ancestor as another but through a different line.
Example sentences
  • A few days later, two powerful Sandhanvalia Sardars, Atar Singh and Ajit Singh, collaterals of the royal contenders for the throne, arrived in Lahore and took over control.
  • That left the old lady as the sole survivor of the family, the collaterals being very distant.


1Additional but subordinate; secondary: the collateral meanings of a word
More example sentences
  • Why do you distinguish between what I might call questions going to the primary purpose of the Commission and these ones that go to what you would regard as a sort of collateral or secondary purpose?
  • Then comes an assessment of collateral effects and unintended consequences.
  • To ensure the proper result with little or no unintended collateral effects, we need greater precision with speed.
1.1 euphemistic Denoting inadvertent casualties and destruction in civilian areas in the course of military operations: munitions must be able to destroy the target without causing collateral damage collateral casualties
More example sentences
  • The quick responsive action of MSgt Henley prevented what could have easily been a major fire with possible significant collateral damage.
  • In such circumstances, the attacking elements will be required to expose themselves to enemy direct fire to engage them without undue collateral damage.
  • There are, however, limits on such incidental or collateral damage.
2Descended from the same stock but by a different line: a collateral descendant of Robert Burns
More example sentences
  • Support is legally prescribed and required along descent, ascent, and collateral lines.
  • As for that of Herve de Lanrivain, I had only to apply to his collateral descendant for its subsequent details.
  • A major consequence of this was the drastic reduction of the casato's collateral lines (and, in the long run, the demographic decline of the aristocracy).
3Situated side by side; parallel: collateral veins
More example sentences
  • The use of contrast enhanced CT is much more specific and can demonstrate collateral veins.
  • The dorsal artery of the index finger may similarly, though more rarely, supply one or both of the collateral arteries of the adjacent sides of the thumb and index finger.
  • The MCL (medial collateral ligament) controls the knee's movement from side to side.



Pronunciation: /kəlat(ə)ˈralɪti/
Example sentences
  • If the radial artery is to be used, the collaterality of blood flow to the hand must be checked by the Allen's test.
  • These criteria include generation, sex, affinity, collaterality, bifurcation, relative age, and sex of linking relative.
  • One should not marry bilateral kin up to the second degree of collaterality; spouses beyond the fourth degree of collaterality are preferred.


Example sentences
  • Setting aside the procedural question whether the court's order could be challenged collaterally in a contempt hearing - as opposed to on appeal - it seems to me that the order is unconstitutionally broad and viewpoint-based.
  • It is hard to be more European than the Dutch: a small country, collaterally invaded in 1940 during the German attack on France, with a location that makes them a great transport hub.
  • In other words, Herbert holds that relativism-and hence, collaterally, relativity-is the best and perhaps the only check against intolerance and violence toward those whose beliefs differ from one's own.


Late Middle English (as an adjective): from medieval Latin collateralis, from col- 'together with' + lateralis (from latus, later- 'side'). sense 1 of the noun (originally US) is from the phrase collateral security, denoting something pledged in addition to the main obligation of a contract.

Words that rhyme with collateral

bilateral, equilateral, lateral, multilateral, quadrilateral, trilateral, unilateral

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: col|lat¦eral

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