Definition of chattel in English:



  • 1(in general use) a personal possession.

    • ‘I humbly request your attention to this matter so that I can present you as his next of kin and beneficiary to his chattels.’
    • ‘In addition, Egyptians would have taken no more account of them than they would have done of any other travellers carrying their goods, chattels, and trading items across the peninsula.’
    • ‘Acquisition and immediacy are highly important in our everyday comings and goings as chattels and goods have become status symbols and brands have developed to be instantly recognisable.’
    • ‘They continued to be treated as chattel, to be bought and sold by fathers, brothers and husbands.’
    • ‘It's possible that his six children would be less inclined to wrangle over his chattels if he asked them openly not to, putting them on their best behaviour.’
    • ‘Art, furniture and other moveable objects - known as chattels - can qualify for heritage relief.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, marriage had often been a contractual, even commercial business, in which the bride was handed over like a chattel from father to husband.’
    • ‘Women are regarded paradoxically as personal chattel as well as a source of honour and pride.’
    • ‘There is no talk of compulsory acquisition or compensation: they are being forced to leave their homeland with nothing - no chattels, heirlooms or personal possessions.’
    • ‘Swindon residents who have been burgled could be reunited with their chattels thanks to the Wiltshire Police.’
    • ‘It's just a replacement for one of the chattels we choose to cart around with us, nothing special, not even something essential.’
    • ‘‘The message that comes across from rulings such as these is that women are still viewed as chattels,’ said Griffiths.’
    • ‘She said money-lenders seemed to target people who owned chattels, so these could be listed as security items.’
    • ‘All of which basically means that you will not receive any compensation for your lost chattels in advance of these times.’
    asset, thing, article, item owned, chattel
    belongings, things, property, worldly goods, goods, personal effects, effects, stuff, assets, accoutrements, paraphernalia, impedimenta, bits and pieces, luggage, baggage, bags and baggage, chattels, movables, valuables
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law An item of property other than real estate.
      • ‘George, like many land reformers, considered that land, unlike chattels, had been common property in early society; that existing land titles were effectively rooted in ancient theft.’
      • ‘The mortgage, both over chattels and over real property, as well as a fixed and a floating charge granted by a corporation, fall into this group.’
      • ‘Distress, of course, is a self-help remedy available to landlords of commercial properties, which enables them to enter the property to seize chattels belonging to a tenant for the purpose of recovering rent in arrears.’
      • ‘An additional way in which the matter may have to be tested is against the case where the trust property is a chattel.’
      • ‘Such securities are open-ended, as the chattels or assets covered by them continue to change and, basically, are unaffected by the security unless the debtor is in default.’
      property, possessions, personal possessions, personal effects, effects, worldly goods, chattels, goods and chattels, valuables, accoutrements, appurtenances, paraphernalia, trappings
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French chatel, from medieval Latin capitale, from Latin capitalis, from caput head Compare with capital and cattle.