[leen, lee-uh n]


Law. the legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.

Origin of lien

1525–35; < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin ligāmen tie, bandage, equivalent to ligā(re) to tie + -men noun suffix of result
Related formslien·a·ble, adjective


[lahy-uh n, -en]

noun Anatomy.

the spleen.

Origin of lien

1645–55; < Latin liēn spleen
Related formsli·e·nal [lahy-een-l, lahy-uh-nl] /laɪˈin l, ˈlaɪ ə nl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lien

Contemporary Examples of lien

Historical Examples of lien

  • Mr. Keepum had a lien on them; Mr. Keepum was a man of iron-heart.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • His brother proved a lien on it for L300 and the rest went by will to his wife.

  • But there was—that of debtor and creditor—a lien not always conferring friendship.

    The Death Shot

    Mayne Reid

  • With this object the lien on the common wealth is enlarged and reconstituted.


    L. T. Hobhouse

  • The sale of the property was threatened by those who held the lien on the church.

British Dictionary definitions for lien



law a right to retain possession of another's property pending discharge of a debt

Word Origin for lien

C16: via Old French from Latin ligāmen bond, from ligāre to bind
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 lien

"right to hold property of another until debt is paid," 1530s, from Middle French lien "a band or tie," from Latin ligamen "bond," from ligare "to bind, tie" (see ligament).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for lien


[līən, -ĕn′]


The spleen.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for lien


[(leen, lee-uhn)]

A claim or right given to a creditor to secure payment of a debt, usually by sale of the debtor's property.

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.