noun Law.

a sharing in the proceeds of litigation by one who agrees with either the plaintiff or defendant to help promote it or carry it on.

Origin of champerty

1300–50; Middle English champartie, equivalent to champart (< Middle French: share of the produce, literally, of the field, equivalent to champ field (see camp1) + part share, see part) + -ie -y3
Related formscham·per·tous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for champertous

Historical Examples of champertous

  • It is unnecessary to inquire here whether such a contract is void as champertous, and contrary to public policy.

British Dictionary definitions for champertous


noun plural -ties

law (formerly) an illegal bargain between a party to litigation and an outsider whereby the latter agrees to pay for the action and thereby share in any proceeds recoveredSee also maintenance
Derived Formschampertous, adjective

Word Origin for champerty

C14: from Anglo-French champartie, from Old French champart share of produce, from champ field + part share (a feudal lord's)
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

Word Origin and History for champertous

1640s, from champart, from French champart "portion of produce received by a feudal lord from land held in lease from him" (13c.), from Old North French campart-, probably from Latin campi pars "part of the field" (see campus + part (n.)). In later use often with reference to champerty (early 14c.), the illegal act whereby a person makes a bargain to maintain a litigant in return for a share of the gains if the case succeeds.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper