- the reverting of property to the state or some agency of the state, or, as in England, to the lord of the fee or to the crown, when there is a failure of persons legally qualified to inherit or to claim.
- the right to take property subject to escheat.
verb (used without object)
- to revert by escheat, as to the crown or the state.
verb (used with object)
- to make an escheat of; confiscate.
- (in England before 1926) the reversion of property to the Crown in the absence of legal heirs
- (in feudal times) the reversion of property to the feudal lord in the absence of legal heirs or upon outlawry of the tenant
- the property so reverting
- to take (land) by escheat or (of land) to revert by escheat
the reverting of land to a king or lord in certain cases, early 14c., from Anglo-French eschete (late 13c.), from Old French eschete “succession, inheritance,” originally fem. past participle of escheoir, from Late Latin *excadere “to fall out,” from Latin ex- “out, away” (see ) + cadere “to fall” (see (n.1)). As a verb, from late 14c. Related: Escheated; escheating.