[chan-suh-ree, chahn-]

noun, plural chan·cer·ies.

the office or department of a chancellor; chancellery.
an office of public records, especially those of the Lord Chancellor in England.
(in England) the Lord Chancellor's court, now a division of the High Court of Justice.
  1. Also called court of chancery.a court having jurisdiction in equity; court of equity.
  2. equity(defs 3a, b).
the administrative office of a diocese.
Roman Catholic Church. a department of the Curia Romana now having the responsibility for issuing bulls to establish new dioceses, benefices, etc.


    in chancery,
    1. litigation in a court of chancery.
    2. Wrestling, Boxing.(of a contestant's head) held under an opponent's arm.
    3. in a helpless or embarrassing position.

Origin of chancery

1325–75; Middle English chancerie, variant of chancelrie, syncopated variant of chancellerie chancellery Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chancery

Historical Examples of chancery

  • The bill was filed in Chancery by their grandfather, Mr. Westbrook.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • They touched the summons from the Chancery Court, and he picked it up.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • With us their independence is secured by the Injunction of the Court of Chancery.

    Ancient Law

    Sir Henry James Sumner Maine

  • Live there quietly, and in a month apply for work at the Chancery; it will be given you.

    In Kings' Byways

    Stanley J. Weyman

  • Her separation from her husband is the consequence, but her fortune is thrown into chancery.

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    Elizabeth Robins Pennell

British Dictionary definitions for chancery


noun plural -ceries

Also called: Chancery Division (in England) the Lord Chancellor's court, now a division of the High Court of Justice
Also called: court of chancery (in the US) a court of equity
British the political section or offices of an embassy or legation
another name for chancellery
a court of public records; archives
Christianity a diocesan office under the supervision of a bishop's chancellor, having custody of archives, issuing official enactments, etc
in chancery
  1. law(of a suit) pending in a court of equity
  2. wrestling boxing(of a competitor's head) locked under an opponent's arm
  3. in an awkward or helpless situation

Word Origin for chancery

C14: shortened from chancellery
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 chancery

late 14c., "court of the Lord Chancellor of England," contracted from chancellery (c.1300), from Old French chancelerie (12c.), from Medieval Latin cancellaria (see chancellor).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper