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[leen, lee-uh n] /lin, ˈli ən/
Law. the legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.
Origin of lien1
1525-35; < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin ligāmen tie, bandage, equivalent to ligā(re) to tie + -men noun suffix of result
Related forms
lienable, adjective


[lahy-uh n, -en] /ˈlaɪ ən, -ɛn/
noun, Anatomy.
the spleen.
1645-55; < Latin liēn spleen
Related forms
[lahy-een-l, lahy-uh-nl] /laɪˈin l, ˈlaɪ ə nl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lien
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Keepum had a lien on them; Mr. Keepum was a man of iron-heart.

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • His brother proved a lien on it for L300 and the rest went by will to his wife.

  • But there was—that of debtor and creditor—a lien not always conferring friendship.

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
  • With this object the lien on the common wealth is enlarged and reconstituted.

    Liberalism L. T. Hobhouse
  • The sale of the property was threatened by those who held the lien on the church.

    History of Linn County Iowa Luther A. Brewer
British Dictionary definitions for lien


/ˈliːən; liːn/
(law) a right to retain possession of another's property pending discharge of a debt
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin ligāmen bond, from ligāre to bind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lien

"right to hold property of another until debt is paid," 1530s, from Middle French lien "a band or tie," from Latin ligamen "bond," from ligare "to bind, tie" (see ligament).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lien in Medicine

lien li·en (lī'ən, -ěn')
The spleen.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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lien in Culture
lien [(leen, lee-uhn)]

A claim or right given to a creditor to secure payment of a debt, usually by sale of the debtor's property.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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