[noun es-kroh, ih-skroh; verb ih-skroh, es-kroh]Law.


a contract, deed, bond, or other written agreement deposited with a third person, by whom it is to be delivered to the grantee or promisee on the fulfillment of some condition.

verb (used with object)

to place in escrow: The home seller agrees to escrow the sum of $1000 with his attorney.


    in escrow, in the keeping of a third person for delivery to a given party upon the fulfillment of some condition.

Origin of escrow

1590–1600; < Anglo-French escro(u)we, Old French escro(u)e. See scroll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for escrow

pledge, deed, security, bond, insurance, guarantee

Examples from the Web for escrow

Contemporary Examples of escrow

  • The president said that a BP “evergreen” escrow would be set up for claims and will be managed by a third party.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How It Played in the Gulf

    Rick Outzen

    June 16, 2010

  • "An escrow of a billion-plus is only a down payment of the potential costs," said Miller.

    The Daily Beast logo
    BP's $25 Million Insult

    Rick Outzen

    May 4, 2010

Historical Examples of escrow

  • This would have meant forfeiting her marriage settlement and the sum that was in escrow.

    The Indulgence of Negu Mah

    Robert Andrew Arthur

  • Understand—all money that comes from the mine is held in escrow until this case is decided.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

  • It must still remain in escrow as the bond of Harry until the case was decided, and that might mean years.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for escrow



money, goods, or a written document, such as a contract bond, delivered to a third party and held by him pending fulfilment of some condition
the state or condition of being an escrow (esp in the phrase in escrow)

verb (tr)

to place (money, a document, etc) in escrow

Word Origin for escrow

C16: from Old French escroe, of Germanic origin; see screed, shred, scroll
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 escrow

1590s, from Anglo-French escrowe, from Old French escroue "scrap, roll of parchment," from a Germanic source akin to Old High German scrot "a scrap, shred, a piece cut off" (see shred (n.)). Originally "a deed delivered to a third person until a future condition is satisfied;" sense of "deposit held in trust or security" is from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

escrow in Culture



The condition of being ineffective until certain conditions are met. For example, money inherited by a minor might be held in escrow until the heir reaches a certain age. Homeowners with mortgages frequently pay money for insurance and taxes on their home into an escrow account each month. The holder of the mortgage then pays the insurance and tax bills out of the escrow account when the bills are due.

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.