lien

A lien is a claim against the property of someone who owes money. It's pronounced like "lean," which might also describe your meager finances if a lien has been placed on your home.

When someone doesn't make payments on a loan, the bank may put a lien on that person's property, claiming ownership of that property until the overdue payment is received. The word lien derives from the Latin ligāre, which means "to bind," and you can see that "binding," or tying up a person's property, really does put the owner in a "bind."

Definitions of lien
  1. noun
    the right to take another's property if an obligation is not discharged
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    types:
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    artisan's lien
    lien permitting an artisan to retain possession of a piece of work until has been paid for
    general lien
    a lien on all the property owned by a debtor and not just a specific property
    judgment lien
    lien on a debtor's property that is granted to a creditor by court judgment; lien may be enforced by having the sheriff seize the property and hold a sheriff's sale
    landlord's lien
    lien on a tenant's property for the satisfaction of unpaid rent or property damage; the landlord is given the status of a preferred creditor with regard to the tenant's property
    mechanic's lien
    lien to secure payment for work and materials in erecting or repairing a building or other structure
    tax lien
    lien of which a tax collector may avail himself in default of taxes (analogous to a judgment lien)
    warehouseman's lien
    right of a warehouseman to retain goods until all storage charges have been paid
    federal tax lien
    lien of the United States on all property of a taxpayer who fails to pay the federal government the taxes for which he or she is liable
    garageman's lien
    the extension of a mechanic's lien to include payment for work on automobiles
    state tax lien
    a lien on the property of a taxpayer that the tax collector can use upon default of payment of taxes
    type of:
    security interest
    any interest in a property that secures the payment of an obligation
  2. noun
    a large dark-red oval organ on the left side of the body between the stomach and the diaphragm; produces cells involved in immune responses
    synonyms: spleen
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    type of:
    lymphatic tissue, lymphoid tissue
    tissue making up the lymphatic system
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