Definition of chattel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈCHadl/


1(In general use) a personal possession.
Example sentences
  • There is no talk of compulsory acquisition or compensation: they are being forced to leave their homeland with nothing - no chattels, heirlooms or personal possessions.
  • She said money-lenders seemed to target people who owned chattels, so these could be listed as security items.
  • Women are regarded paradoxically as personal chattel as well as a source of honour and pride.
1.1 Law An item of property other than real estate. See also goods and chattels.
Example sentences
  • The mortgage, both over chattels and over real property, as well as a fixed and a floating charge granted by a corporation, fall into this group.
  • An additional way in which the matter may have to be tested is against the case where the trust property is a chattel.
  • George, like many land reformers, considered that land, unlike chattels, had been common property in early society; that existing land titles were effectively rooted in ancient theft.


Middle English: from Old French chatel, from medieval Latin capitale, from Latin capitalis, from caput 'head'. Compare with capital1 and cattle.

  • A chattel, now often used in legal contexts as in goods and chattels, is ‘a personal possession’. The source of the word is Old French chatel, from medieval Latin capitale, from Latin capitalis ‘of the head’, from caput ‘head’ ( see capital). From the same word comes cattle (Middle English). At first it was an alternative form of chattel, but one which could also be used specifically for livestock. It started to be used specifically for cows and similar animals in the mid 16th century.

Words that rhyme with chattel

battle, cattle, embattle, prattle, rattle, Seattle, tattle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: chat·tel

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