Distrain

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Distrain'

Distrain Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    distrain v
  1. levy a distress on
  2. confiscate by distress
  3. legally take something in place of a debt payment
Distrain Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Distrain \Dis*train"\, v. i. To levy a distress. Upon whom I can distrain for debt. --Camden.
Distrain Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Distrain \Dis*train"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Distrained; p. pr. & vb. n. Distraining.] [OE. destreinen to force, OF. destreindre to press, oppress, force, fr. L. distringere, districtum, to draw asunder, hinder, molest, LL., to punish severely; di- = stringere to draw tight, press together. See Strain, and cf. Distress, District, Distraint.]
  1. To press heavily upon; to bear down upon with violence; hence, to constrain or compel; to bind; to distress, torment, or afflict. [Obs.] ``Distrained with chains.'' --Chaucer.
  2. To rend; to tear. [Obs.] Neither guile nor force might it [a net] distrain. --Spenser.
  3. (Law) (a) To seize, as a pledge or indemnification; to take possession of as security for nonpayment of rent, the reparation of an injury done, etc.; to take by distress; as, to distrain goods for rent, or of an amercement. (b) To subject to distress; to coerce; as, to distrain a person by his goods and chattels.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Distrain'


Distraint or distress is "the seizure of someone’s property in order to obtain payment of rent or other money owed", especially in common law countries.

Article 61 of the Magna Carta extended the law of distraint to the monarch's properties. In England in 1267 the Statute of Marlborough was passed making distraint illegal without a court order.

The goods are held for a given amount of time, and if the rent is not paid, they may be sold. The actual seizure of the goods may be carried out by the landlord, the landlord's agent, or an officer of the government, a bailiff or sheriff officer in the United Kingdom or a sheriff or marshal in the United States.

Certain goods are protected against distraint - these are called "privileged goods". Such goods include, for example, goods belonging to the state, fixtures, goods delivered to the tenant or debtor for business purposes, the goods of a guest, perishable goods (e.g. food), livestock, gas, water, electricity, and tools of the tenant's trade.

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