[kuh-lat-er-uh l]
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  1. security pledged for the payment of a loan: He gave the bank some stocks and bonds as collateral for the money he borrowed.
  2. Anatomy.
    1. a subordinate or accessory part.
    2. a side branch, as of a blood vessel or nerve.
    3. collateral circulation.
  3. a relative descended from the same stock, but in a different line.
  1. accompanying; auxiliary: He received a scholarship and collateral aid.
  2. additional; confirming: collateral evidence; collateral security.
  3. secured by collateral: a collateral loan.
  4. aside from the main subject, course, etc.; secondary: These accomplishments are merely collateral to his primary goal.
  5. descended from the same stock, but in a different line; not lineal: A cousin is a collateral relative.
  6. pertaining to those so descended.
  7. situated at the side: a collateral wing of a house.
  8. situated or running side by side; parallel: collateral ridges of mountains.
  9. Botany. standing side by side.

Origin of collateral

1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin collaterālis, equivalent to col- col-1 + laterālis lateral
Related formscol·lat·er·al·i·ty [koh-lat-uh-ral-i-tee] /koʊˌlæt əˈræl ɪ ti/, col·lat·er·al·ness, nouncol·lat·er·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for collateral

Contemporary Examples of collateral

Historical Examples of collateral

British Dictionary definitions for collateral


    1. security pledged for the repayment of a loan
    2. (as modifier)a collateral loan
  1. a person, animal, or plant descended from the same ancestor as another but through a different line
  1. situated or running side by side
  2. descended from a common ancestor but through different lines
  3. serving to support or corroborate
  4. aside from the main issue
  5. uniting in tendency
Derived Formscollaterally, adverb

Word Origin for collateral

C14: from Medieval Latin collaterālis, from Latin com- together + laterālis of the side, from latus side
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 collateral

late 14c., "accompanying," also "descended from the same stock," from Old French collateral (13c.), from Medieval Latin collateralis "accompanying," literally "side by side," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + lateralis "of the side," from latus "a side" (see oblate (n.)). Literal sense of "parallel, along the side of" attested in English from mid-15c. Related: Collaterally.


16c., "colleague, associate," from collateral (adj.). Meaning "thing given as security" is from 1832, American English, from phrase collateral security (1720).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

collateral in Medicine


  1. Indirect, subsidiary, or accessory to the main thing.
  2. Having an ancestor in common but descended from a different line.
  1. A branch of a nerve axon or blood vessel.
  2. A collateral relative.
Related formscol•later•al•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

collateral in Culture


Property or its equivalent that a debtor deposits with a creditor to guarantee repayment of a debt.

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