1. Law. Often chattels. a movable article of personal property.
  2. Often chattels. any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
  3. a slave.


  1. (often plural) property law
    1. chattel personalan item of movable personal property, such as furniture, domestic animals, etc
    2. chattel realan interest in land less than a freehold, such as a lease
  2. goods and chattels personal property

early 13c., chatel “property, goods,” from Old French chatel “chattels, goods, wealth, possessions, property; profit; cattle,” from Late Latin capitale “property” (see cattle, which is the Old North French form of the same word). Application to slaves (1640s) is a rhetorical figure of abolitionists, etc.

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