Definition of escrow in US English:



  • 1A bond, deed, or other document kept in the custody of a third party and taking effect only when a specified condition has been fulfilled.

    • ‘A key part of the arrangement is ensuring that what goes into the escrow is what the licensee expects.’
    • ‘The death of the grantor whose deed is held in escrow does not invalidate the escrow.’
    • ‘In the late 1980's and early 90's, homebuyers routinely cancelled escrows at the mere mention of asbestos or radon gas.’
    1. 1.1usually as modifier A deposit or fund held in trust or as a security.
      ‘an escrow account’
      • ‘Now my real estate agent is trying to get me to sign the escrow over to the sellers because they took their house off of the market when they accepted the contract and claim they are therefore owed the escrow.’
      • ‘In August, Sanderson claims, the funds somehow vanished as they moved from the escrow account to the payoff department.’
      • ‘Players give 10 percent of each paycheck to an escrow fund.’
      • ‘The Canadian company has been budgeting for damages by setting aside money in an escrow fund.’
      • ‘Instead, deposit it in an escrow account at a reputable bank and have all checks written from that account to the agent and the county.’
      • ‘Should you decide to borrow in Florida your lender may include property taxes in your monthly mortgage payments and put them in an escrow account on your behalf.’
    2. 1.2 The state of being kept in custody or trust.
      ‘the board holds funds in escrow’
      • ‘Unlike legitimate weapons held openly in escrow, illegitimate covert weapons would be usable.’
      • ‘The lender collects the payments and holds them in escrow until the taxes are due to be paid.’
      • ‘If a vendor on the point of selling found an enforcement notice, he could either postpone exchange of contracts or put contracts in escrow until the appeal was brought.’
      • ‘He has since refused to return either the Minute Book or the share certificates that were to be held in escrow.’
      • ‘Following the release of the shares from escrow, the remaining balance of 948,733 shares will remain in escrow until March 16, 2008, at which time those shares will be also released from escrow.’
      • ‘To ease similar concerns in the past, transacting parties required sellers to put money in escrow, indemnifying buyers against future environmental liabilities.’
      • ‘Why not just put the $18 million in escrow and save what is still a significant insurance premium?’
      care, guardianship, charge, keeping, safe keeping, wardship, ward, responsibility, protection, guidance, tutelage
      View synonyms


[with object]North American
  • Place in custody or trust.

    • ‘Not only was the insurance rarely considered a deal-saving alternative to escrowed funds, it was barely considered at all.’
    • ‘The more customers that sign up, the more profitable this company becomes, since it earns interest on escrowed payroll taxes from customers.’
    • ‘So, if you escrow your tax payment, request that duplicate copies of the bill be sent to you by the tax collector and check to make sure the bill is paid.’
    • ‘The computer storing these escrowed keys would become a primary target for both physical and cyberterrorism.’
    • ‘In this kind of exchange, the real estate owner can avoid tax liability from a property sale by purchasing another property within a six-month window using the escrowed proceeds from the first sale.’


Late 16th century: from Old French escroe ‘scrap, scroll’, from medieval Latin scroda, of Germanic origin; related to shred.