[ chat-l ]
/ ˈtʃæt l /


Law. Often chattels. a movable article of personal property.
Often chattels. any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
a slave.

Nearby words

  1. chatroom,
  2. chatsworth house,
  3. chattagam,
  4. chattahoochee,
  5. chattanooga,
  6. chattel house,
  7. chattel mortgage,
  8. chatter,
  9. chatter mark,
  10. chatterati

Origin of chattel

1175–1225; Middle English chatel < Old French. See cattle

Synonym study

1. See property. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chattel

British Dictionary definitions for chattel


/ (ˈtʃætəl) /


(often plural) property law
  1. chattel personalan item of movable personal property, such as furniture, domestic animals, etc
  2. chattel realan interest in land less than a freehold, such as a lease
goods and chattels personal property

Word Origin for chattel

C13: from Old French chatel personal property, from Medieval Latin capitāle wealth; see capital 1

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 chattel



early 13c., chatel "property, goods," from Old French chatel "chattels, goods, wealth, possessions, property; profit; cattle," from Late Latin capitale "property" (see cattle, which is the Old North French form of the same word). Application to slaves (1640s) is a rhetorical figure of abolitionists, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper