Es*cheat" (?), n. [OE. eschete, escheyte, an escheat, fr. OF. escheit, escheoit, escheeite, esheoite, fr. escheoir (F. 'echoir) 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.]

1. Law (a) Feud. & Eng.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

. Tomlins. Blackstone. (b) U. S.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.

⇒ A distinction is carefully made, by English writers, between escheat to the lord of the fee and forfeiture to the crown. But in this country, where the State holds the place of chief lord of the fee, and is entitled to take alike escheat and by forfeiture, this distinction is not essential.

Tomlins. Kent.


A writ, now abolished, to recover escheats from the person in possession.



Lands which fall to the lord or the State by escheat.


That which falls to one; a reversion or return

To make me great by others' loss is bad escheat. Spenser.


© Webster 1913.

Es*cheat", v. i. [imp. & p. p. Esheated; p. pr. & vb. n. Escheating.] 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.

Kent. Bouvier.


© Webster 1913.

Es*cheat", v. t. Law

To forfeit.

Bp. Hall.


© Webster 1913.