lien /'lēn/ n [Anglo-French, bond, obligation, literally, tie, band, from Old French, from Latin ligamen, from ligare to bind]: a charge or encumbrance upon property for the satisfaction of a debt or other duty that is created by agreement of the parties or esp. by operation of law; specif: a security interest created esp. by a mortgage
assessment lien: a lien that is on property benefiting from an improvement made by a municipality and that secures payment of the taxes assessed to pay for the improvement
attachment lien: a lien acquired on property by a creditor upon levy of an attachment
car·ri·er's lien: a lien against freight conferring on the carrier the right to retain the property until the amount due is paid
charging lien: a lien attaching to a judgment or recovery awarded to a plaintiff and securing payment of the plaintiff's attorney's fees and expenses – called also special lien;
choate lien: a lien that requires no further action to be made enforceable and that identifies the lienor, the property subject to the lien, and the amount of the lien
common–law lien: a lien under common law giving a creditor (as a bailee) in possession of property the right to retain possession until payment of the amount due
equitable lien: a lien against property that does not require possession of the property and that is available in equity to prevent unjust enrichment
factor's lien: a lien against property held on consignment by a factor conferring the right to retain possession of the property until payment of the amount due
◇ Under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, a factor's lien is simply a security interest and, unlike a common-law lien, is enforceable even after the factor is no longer in possession of the property.
first lien: a lien taking precedence over all other claims, charges, or encumbrances of the same general category but not necessarily over those (as taxes) imposed by government sanction
float·ing lien: a lien created in a security agreement against property owned by the debtor at the time of the agreement's creation as well as property acquired after the agreement's creation
general lien
1: a lien that is for the satisfaction of a balance due from an owner of property and that is not confined to the amount due in respect to the property itself
2: retaining lien in this entry
inchoate lien: a lien for which some procedure remains unfinished or some term remains undetermined
involuntary lien: a lien that arises other than by the debtor's consent (as by operation of law)
judgment lien: a lien acquired against the property of a debtor by a creditor upon obtaining a favorable judgment
judicial lien: a lien obtained by a legal or equitable process (as judgment, levy, attachment, or execution)
ju·nior lien: a lien that is lower in priority relative to other liens
landlord's lien: a lien against the goods and valuables of a tenant to secure payment of rent or sometimes repayment of money otherwise owed to a landlord
maritime lien: a lien arising under maritime law against a ship or its cargo (as for services or supplies tendered or for damages caused by a collision) which may be enforced by a court-ordered seizure of the property in order to satisfy the obligation
ma·te·ri·al·man's lien /mə-'tir-ē-əl-mənz-/: a lien on property for materials supplied
me·chan·ic's lien: a lien against a building and its site to assure priority of payment for labor or services (as construction and sometimes design) or material
retaining lien: a lien that attaches to the papers or property of a client which have come into his or her attorney's possession in the course of employment and that secures payment of the attorney's fees – called also general lien;
se·nior lien: a lien that is higher in priority relative to other liens
special lien
1: an equitable lien enforceable to compel performance of an obligation (as under a divorce settlement)
2: charging lien in this entry
spe·cif·ic lien: a lien upon specific property as security for the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of some other obligation arising out of a transaction or agreement involving that property compare general lien in this entry
statutory lien: a lien imposed by statute
tax lien: a statutory lien on property for taxes due giving the taxing authority a security interest in the property compare tax sale at sale
vendor's lien: a lien on esp. real property securing payment in full of the purchase price by the buyer
voluntary lien: a lien created (as by contract) with the consent of the debtor

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun charge, charge imposed on specific property, claim, claim on property, debt, hold on property, hold upon the property of another, incumbrance, indebtedness, indebtment, liability, obligation, pledge, property right, real security, right to enforce charge upon property, security, security on property, stake associated concepts: agricultural lien, artisan's lien, attorney's lien, builder's lien, carrier's lien, common-law lien, concurrent lien, contractor's lien, discharge of lien equitable lien, factor's lien, general lien, judgment lien, junior lien, landlord's lien, mechanic's lien, possessory lien, prior lien, priority of a lien, statutory lien, superior lien, vendor's lien II index encumbrance, hypothecation, security (pledge)

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

A claim placed on property to act as security for a debt owed by the owner, held until the owner pays the debt and kept if the owner never pays.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

a security right permitting one person to retain possession of goods owned by another until the claims of the person retaining the goods as against the owner have been satisfied. An agent has a lien on the goods and chattels of his principal in respect of all claims arising out of his employment as an agent. The lien entitles the agent to detain goods in his possession belonging to his principal until all the legitimate claims of the agent have been satisfied.
In connection with moveable property, a lien is the right of an agent or bailee to retain possession of a chattel entrusted to him until his claim has been paid; in relation to land, a vendor has a lien over the land for unpaid purchase money. Liens are either particular, as, for example, a right to retain a thing for some charge or claim arising out of or in connection with the thing, like that of a garage proprietor, or general, as, for example, a right to retain a thing not only for such charges or claims but also for a general balance of accounts between the parties in respect of other dealings of a like nature, such as the solicitor's lien.
The unpaid seller of goods who is in possession of the goods is entitled to retain possession of them until payment or tender of the price. This lien exists only where the buyer becomes insolvent. The seller may exercise his lien or right of retention notwithstanding that he is in possession of the goods as agent or bailee or custodier for the buyer. In order to exercise his lien, the seller must be in possession of the goods. He does not lose possession merely because he gives temporary or limited control of goods to the buyer, e.g. to mark them or pack them in his own containers. The unpaid seller of goods loses his lien or right of retention in respect of the goods in three situations:
(1) when he delivers the goods to a carrier or other bailee or cus-todier for the purpose of transmission to the buyer without reserving the right of disposal of goods;
(2) when the buyer or his agent lawfully obtains possession of the goods;
(3) a lien or right of retention may be lost by waiver.
On the dissolution of a partnership, each partner has a general lien on the firm's surplus assets; this lien arises out of a partner's statutory right to have the surplus assets (after payment of the firm's debts and liabilities) applied in payment of what may be due to the partners respectively (after deducting what may be due from them as partners to the firm).
In carriage of goods by air cases carriage by air, there is no provision in the Warsaw Convention about the carrier's lien; the ordinary common law rules therefore apply. In carriage of goods by road cases (carriage by road), the carrier has a right at common law to retain possession of goods until he is paid the freight owing to him for the carriage of the goods. In carriage of goods by sea cases (carriage by sea), the carrier has a lien at common law not only in respect of the freight and general average contribution due in respect of the goods upon which he exercises the lien but also for sums due for freight and general average in respect of all the goods of the same owner in the same ship of the same voyage.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

A creditor's legal claim against particular property owned by a debtor as security for a debt. Liens the debtor agrees to, called security interests, include mortgages, home equity loans, car loans, and personal loans for which the debtor pledges property as collateral. Nonconsensual liens are liens placed on property without the debtor's consent, and include tax liens, judgment liens (liens a creditor obtains by suing and getting a court judgment against the debtor), and mechanics' liens (liens filed by a contractor who worked on the debtor's house but didn't get paid).
Category: Back Taxes & Tax Debt
Category: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure & Debt → Bankruptcy
Category: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure & Debt → Student Loan Debt
Category: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure & Debt → Foreclosure
Category: Personal Finance & Retirement → Taxes
Category: Real Estate & Rental Property → Buying a House

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

A right which entitles a party to hold on to assets in his possession pending payment of a debt owed. It can arise in equity, from the operation of law (a common law lien) or can be bargained for, or extended, as a matter of contract (a contractual lien). It does not confer on the lien holder an automatic right to sell the assets.
+ lien
A creditor's claim against property to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation (§ 101(37), Bankruptcy Code). Liens may arise voluntarily, such as a mortgage on real property, or may arise involuntarily by operation of law, such as a judgment lien or tax lien (
Related links

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

n. A security interest, held by a creditor in a debtor's property, to secure a loan.
@ mechanic's lien
A lien against real property to secure payment of amounts owing to contractors, service people, etc., who performed work on the property.
=>> lien.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

A right given to another by the owner of property to secure a debt, or one created by law in favor of certain creditors.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

A right given to another by the owner of property to secure a debt, or one created by law in favor of certain creditors.
II An encumbrance or legal burden upon property.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   any official claim or charge against property or funds for payment of a debt or an amount owed for services rendered. A lien is usually a formal document signed by the party to whom money is owed and sometimes by the debtor who agrees to the amount due. A lien carries with it the right to sell property, if necessary, to obtain the money. A mortgage or a deed of trust is a form of lien, and any lien against real property must be recorded with the County Recorder to be enforceable, including an abstract of judgment which turns a judgment into a lien against the judgment debtor's property. There are numerous types of liens including: a mechanic's lien against the real property upon which a workman, contractor or supplier has provided work or materials, an attorney's lien for fees to be paid from funds recovered by his/her efforts, a medical lien for medical bills to be paid from funds recovered for an injury, a landlord's lien against a tenant's property for unpaid rent or damages, a tax lien to enforce the government's claim of unpaid taxes, or the security agreement (UCC-1) authorized by the Uniform Commercial Code. Most liens are enforceable in the order in which they were recorded or filed (in the case of security agreements), except tax liens, which have priority over the private citizen's claim.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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  • LIEN — (Heb. שִׁעְבּוּד נְכָסִים, Shibud Nekhasim). The Concept Jewish law enables the creditor to exercise a lien over all the debtor s property, in addition to his remedies against the debtor personally. This lien automatically comes into existence on …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • LIEN — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • lien — a charge upon a specific property designed to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation (Glossary of Common Bankruptcy Terms) A charge against or interest in property to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation. A… …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • lien — Lien. s. m. Ce qui sert à lier une ou plusieurs choses. Gros lien. un fort lien. un lien de fer. le lien d une gerbe. le lien d un fagot. faire des liens forger des liens. il faut retenir cela avec des liens. Lien, se dit aussi de la corde ou… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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  • Lien — (l[=e]n or l[imac] [e^]n; 277), n. [F. lien band, bond, tie, fr. L. ligamen, fr. ligare to bind. Cf. {League} a union, {Leam} a string, {Leamer}, {Ligament}.] (Law) A legal claim; a charge upon real or personal property for the satisfaction of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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