One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bond of record, acknowledged before the chief magistrate of a trading town, by which a creditor has the power of seizing a debtor's lands in case of default.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Deed. From statute + merchant, after Anglo-Norman estatu marchaund, itself after post-classical Latin statutum mercatorium denoting this kind of bond, so called in allusion to the name of the Statute de Mercatoribus of 1285 which dealt with this kind of bond (which had been established in the Statute of Acton Burnell of 1283).
statute merchant/ˈstatʃuːt ˌməːtʃ(ə)nt//ˈstatjuːt ˌməːtʃ(ə)nt/
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