- (before 1846) an animal or article that, having been the immediate cause of the death of a human being, was forfeited to the crown to be applied to pious uses.
Origin of deodand
Examples from the Web for deodand
The jury imposed a deodand of £5 on the coach and £10 on the horses.The Great North Road: London to York
Charles G. Harper
The bound volume was forfeited as a deodand, but not claimed.The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
Oliver Wendell Holmes
In mediæval and early modern Europe, offending objects were "deodand," that is, devoted to God.Ethics
John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
The old law of Deodand was an expression of this feeling of resentment against inanimate objects even.Concerning Justice
Lucilius A. Emery
The verdict returned was "Accidental Death," with a deodand of five pounds upon the bull.Trevlyn Hold
Mrs. Henry Wood
- English law (formerly) a thing that had caused a person's death and was forfeited to the crown for a charitable purpose: abolished 1862
Word Origin and History for deodand
1520s, from Anglo-French deodande (late 13c.), from Medieval Latin deodandum, from Deo dandum "a thing to be given to God," from dative of deus "god" (see Zeus) + neuter gerundive of dare "to give" (see date (n.1)). In English law, "a personal chattel which, having been the immediate cause of the death of a person, was forfeited to the Crown to be applied to pious uses." Abolished 1846.