• WordNet 3.6
    • n escheat the property that reverts to the state
    • n escheat a reversion to the state (as the ultimate owner of property) in the absence of legal heirs
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Escheat (Law) A writ, now abolished, to recover escheats from the person in possession.
    • Escheat Lands which fall to the lord or the State by escheat.
    • Escheat That which falls to one; a reversion or return "To make me great by others' loss is bad escheat ."
    • Escheat (Law) The falling back or reversion of lands, by some casualty or accident, to the lord of the fee, in consequence of the extinction of the blood of the tenant, which may happen by his dying without heirs, and formerly might happen by corruption of blood, that is, by reason of a felony or attainder.
    • Escheat (Law) The reverting of real property to the State, as original and ultimate proprietor, by reason of a failure of persons legally entitled to hold the same.
    • v. t Escheat (Law) To forfeit.
    • v. i Escheat (Law) To revert, or become forfeited, to the lord, the crown, or the State, as lands by the failure of persons entitled to hold the same, or by forfeiture.☞ In this country it is the general rule that when the title to land fails by defect of heirs or devisees, it necessarily escheats to the State; but forfeiture of estate from crime is hardly known in this country, and corruption of blood is universally abolished.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n escheat The reverting or falling back of lands or tenements to the lord of the fee or to the state, whether through failure of heirs or (formerly) through the corruption of the blood of the tenant by his having been attainted, or by forfeiture for treason. By modern legislation there can be no escheat on failure of the whole blood wherever there are collateral kindred capable of inheriting; and in the United States there can be no escheat to any private person.
    • n escheat In England, the place or circuit within which the king or lord is entitled to escheats.
    • n escheat A writ to recover escheats from the person in possession.
    • n escheat The possessions which fall to the lord or state by escheat.
    • n escheat That which falls to one; a reversion or return.
    • escheat To suffer escheat; revert or fall back by escheat.
    • escheat To divest of an estate by confiscation: as, he was escheated of his lands in Scotland.
    • escheat To confiscate; forfeit.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Escheat es-chēt′ property which falls to the state for want of an heir, or by forfeiture:
    • v.t Escheat to confiscate
    • v.i Escheat to fall to the lord of the manor or the state
    • n Escheat es-chēt′ (Spens.) plunder
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. eschete, escheyte, an escheat, fr. OF. escheit, escheoit, escheeite, esheoite, fr. escheoir,F. échoir,) to fall to, fall to the lot of; pref. es-,L. ex,) + cheoir, F. choir, to fall, fr. L. cadere,. See Chance, and cf. Cheat
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. escheteescheoir (Fr. échoir)—Low L.,—L. ex, out, cadĕre, to fall.


In literature:

All escheats of private estates, but no public or general escheats.
"The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny" by A. O. Brownson
If there were no heirs, the land escheated to the lord.
"Our Legal Heritage, 5th Ed." by S. A. Reilly
In case a master died without lawful heirs, his slaves did not escheat, but were regarded as other personal estate or property.
"History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1" by George W. Williams
He was knighted and rewarded: every one almost was rewarded out of Gowrie's escheats, or forfeited property.
"James VI and the Gowrie Mystery" by Andrew Lang
In Ireland mention is made of escheators as early as 1256.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 2" by Various
When the Loyalists arrived in 1783, it was proposed that the township of Conway should be escheated for their benefit.
"Glimpses of the Past" by W. O. Raymond
The talk now was about drugs and latitats, jalap and the law of escheats.
"Old and New London" by Walter Thornbury
In 1553 the Warden's fee was L500, but he had to surrender the one half of the "escheats" to the authorities.
"Border Raids and Reivers" by Robert Borland
Nevertheless, the lord is entitled to escheat in the event of failure of heirs, just as if the land had not been enfranchised.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 3" by Various
Each of which has its particular escheat-master.
"The History of Virginia, in Four Parts" by Robert Beverley
Escheats and forfeitures completed the list.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 9, Slice 4" by Various
Therefore, if there be no other claimant upon an inheritance than such illegitimate child, it escheats to the lord.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 4" by Various
In 1848 the territory of Satara was escheated through the failure of heirs.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 7" by Various
The martyr was found guilty, and all the wealth of his shrine was declared escheated to the Crown.
"Stained Glass Tours in England" by Charles Hitchcock Sherrill
But the question occurs: what became of the escheated lands which were ordered to be restored to the original proprietors?
"History of Prince Edward Island" by Duncan Campbell
Another incident of the tenure, and this sometimes a very profitable one, is the escheat to the lord on failure of heirs.
"Legal Lore" by Various
He was Escheator of the Province of Munster.
"The Commercial Restraints of Ireland" by John Hely Hutchinson
The lands of those who died without heirs fell back to the Crown by escheat.
"Constitutional History of England, Vol 1 of 3" by Henry Hallam
But escheat is a matter of rare occurrence.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, Slice 5" by Various
William Brandon was Escheator of Norfolk and Suffolk from 13th November 33 Hen.
"The Paston Letters, Volume III (of 6)"

In poetry:

I have no home in the cruel heat
On alien soil that blisters feet.
This water is my native seat,
And more than ever cool and sweet,
So long by forfeiture escheat.
"The Swimmer" by John Crowe Ransom
The dusk runs down the lane driven like hail;
Far off a precise whistle is escheat
To the dark; and then the towering weak and pale
Covers his eyes with memory like a sheet.
"Idiot" by Allen Tate

In news:

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