cov·e·nant /'kə-və-nənt/ n
1: an official agreement or compact
an international covenant on human rights
2 a: a contract in its entirety or a promise within a contract for the performance or nonperformance of a particular act
a covenant not to sue; specif: a promise relating to the transfer, possession, or ownership of real property see also covenant not to compete, restrictive covenant
b: a warranty in a deed assuring the grantee esp. against defects in title
a covenant for quiet enjoyment see also run
3: a common-law action to recover damages for breach of a contract under seal compare assumpsit, debt
covenant vb

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

I noun agreement, arrangement, avowal, binding agreement, collective agreement, commitment, compact, concordat, contract, contractual obligation, contractual statement, conventio, convention, engagement, guarantee, mutual understanding, oath, pacisci, pact, pactio, pactum, pledge, promise, stipulation, understanding, undertaking, warranty, written agreement, written pledge associated concepts: breach of covenant, collateral covenants, concurrent covenants, covenant against incumbrances, covenant appurtenant to the land, covenant for quiet enjoyment, covenant not to institute suit, covenant in praesenti, covenant not to convey, covenant of future assurrence, covenant of general warranty, covenant of title, covenant of warranty, covenant running with the land, covenant to pay, dependent covenant, doctrine of implied covenants, joint covenant, negative covenants, restrictive covenant II index adjustment, agree (contract), agreement (contract), assurance, bargain, bond (secure a debt), cartel, certificate, clause, commitment (responsibility), compact, contract (noun), contract (verb), coverage (insurance), deed, indenture, league, obligation (duty), pact, pledge (binding promise), pledge (promise the performance of), promise, promise (vow), protocol (agreement), sign, specialty (contract), stipulate, stipulation, term (provision), testament, treaty, understanding (agreement), undertake, undertaking (pledge), vow, warrant (guaranty), warranty

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

A contract or formal agreement; often produced in writing and signed by all parties.
To enter into an agreement.

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

a promise contained in a deed. The word is used more generally, however, to denote an agreement or undertaking in a contract or instrument of transfer. So, to covenant to do something (e.g. pay £10 per annum to a charity) is to undertake to do that thing. The point about the requirement for a deed is that a promise contained in a deed is prima facie enforceable with anything further (such as consideration).
A covenant may be express, in that its terms are created by the parties themselves, or implied by law. For example, on a conveyance on sale of freehold land by a person expressed to convey as beneficial owner, the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 implies four covenants by the transferor, namely:
(1) that the transferor has the power to convey the subject matter of the conveyance;
(2) that the purchaser will not be disturbed in his physical occupation (known as the covenant for quiet enjoyment);
(3) that the property is free from encumbrances other than those expressly mentioned;
(4) that the vendor will, at the request and expense of the purchaser, execute all such documents and do all such acts and things as may be necessary to give effect to the transfer.
Where the land is leasehold, a further covenant is implied, namely, that the transferor (assignee) has paid all rent due and observed all covenants contained in the lease.
Covenants may be positive or negative. For negative covenants, see further restrictive covenant.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

An agreement, contract, or written promise between two parties that constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something. In the case of real property, covenants are found in deeds or in documents that bind everyone who owns land in a particular development. (See also: covenants, conditions, and restrictions)
Category: Real Estate & Rental Property

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

An agreement or promise in the form of a deed binding the person or persons giving the covenant to perform or give something to the other, or to abstain from the performance of certain things. Covenants may, for example, stipulate the making of specified payments of money at set intervals.
+ An agreement or promise to do or provide something, or to refrain from doing or providing something, which is meant to be binding on the party giving the covenant (who may be referred to as the "covenantor").
In a finance law context, also known as an undertaking.
In a property law context, in some circumstances, the agreement or promise may have to be given in a particular form for it to be binding. Some types of covenant may also be enforceable by, or against, persons who were not a party to the original arrangement.
+ covenant
An agreement or promise binding the person or persons giving the covenant to perform or give something to the other (an affirmative covenant), or to abstain from the performance of certain things (a negative covenant). An agreement, for example a loan agreement, may include affirmative covenants, negative covenants and financial covenants.
Related links

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

1 A written and legally enforceable agreement or promise that is often a part of a contract or deed, especially one to maintain the status quo of something or to do or not do something during the term of the covenant.
2 An implied promise that is incidental to a contract or deed.
3 A warranty, especially one made in connection with the sale or transfer of land.
4 Same as contract under seal;
5 An action under the common law to recover damages for the breach of a contract under seal.
See also assumpsit.
@ concurrent covenant
A covenant that requires one party to fulfill her promise to do or not do something at the same time the other party to the covenant has to fulfill his promise.
@ covenant against encumbrances
A covenant of title, whereby the grantor promises that there are no undisclosed encumbrances (such as easements, liens, or mortgages) on the property.
@ covenant appurtenant
@ covenant not to compete
A provision, often found in employment, partnership, and sale-of-business contracts, in which one party agrees not to conduct any business or professional activity similar to that of the other party. Such covenants are enforceable for the duration of the business relationship between the parties, but not afterward except for the period of time, scope, and territorial limits that are deemed reasonable by a court in light of the adequacy of consideration given in exchange for the covenant, the hardship that the enforcement of the covenant or lack thereof would impose upon the parties, and the need of the party seeking to enforce the covenant to protect trade secrets and the like. Sometimes also called restrictive covenant.
@ covenant not to sue
In a settlement of a claim, dispute, or lawsuit, a promise not to assert or pursue in court a right of action arising from the subject of the claim, dispute, or lawsuit.
@ covenant of further assurance
A covenant of title whereby the grantor promises to do whatever is reasonably necessary to give the grantee full title if the title conveyed in the deed later proves to be imperfect.
@ covenant of quiet enjoyment
@ covenant for quiet enjoyment
@ covenant of or for quiet enjoyment
covenant of (or for) quiet enjoyment.
1 A covenant of title, whereby the grantor promises that the grantee's unimpaired use and enjoyment of the land will not be disturbed by anyone with a lien or superior right to the land.
2 A covenant of title, whereby the grantor promises to indemnify the grantee against any defects in the title to the land conveyed or any disturbances of the unimpaired use and enjoyment of the land. Often considered synonymous with covenant of warranty.
@ covenant of right to convey
=>> covenant of seisin
@ covenant of seisin
A covenant of title, whereby the grantor promises that he or she has at the time of the grant the full ownership, or the right to convey, an estate of the quality and size that they are purporting to convey to the grantee. Also called covenant of right to convey.
@ covenant for title
@ covenant of title
@ covenant of or for title
covenant of (or for) title. A type of covenant usually given by a grantor in a warranty deed conveying real property to ensure that title is complete and secure. Also called warranty of title. In the plural, also called usual covenants.
@ covenant of warranty
A covenant of title, whereby the grantor promises to defend the title against all reasonable claims of a superior right to the land by a third party and to indemnify the grantee against any losses arising from the claim. Often considered synonymous with covenant of quiet enjoyment.
@ covenant running with the land
A covenant that relates to a particular parcel of land without which the land cannot be conveyed and that is binding for an indefinite time on all successor grantees. Also called covenant appurtenant and running covenant.
@ covenant under seal
=>> contract under seal
@ racially restrictive covenant
A covenant that purports to limit all future transfers of a piece of real property to successor grantees of, or to successor grantees who are not of, a particular race, color, or ethnic group. Once very common, these covenants are now unenforceable.
@ restrictive covenant
1 A covenant that restrict the use, occupancy, or disposition of real property (such as specifying the size of lots that the property can be divided into or the types of buildings that may be constructed on the land).
@ running covenant
A covenant that relates to a particular parcel of land without which the land cannot be conveyed and that is binding for an indefinite time on all successor grantees. Also called covenant appurtenant and covenant running with the land.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

An agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.

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

An agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.

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

   1) n. a promise in a written contract or a deed of real property. The term is used only for certain types of promises such as a covenant of warranty, which is a promise to guarantee the title (clear ownership) to property, a promise agreeing to joint use of an easement for access to real property, or a covenant not to compete, which is commonly included in promises made by a seller of a business for a certain period of time. Mutual covenants among members of a homeowners association are promises to respect the rules of conduct or restrictions on use of property to insure peaceful use, limitations on intrusive construction, etc., which are usually part of the recorded covenants, conditions and restrictions which govern a development or condominium project. Covenants which run with the land, such as permanent easement of access or restrictions on use, are binding on future title holders of the property. Covenants can be concurrent (mutual promises to be performed at the same time), dependent (one promise need be performed if the other party performs his/hers), or independent (a promise to be honored without reference to any other promise). Until 1949 many deeds contained restrictive covenants which limited transfer of the property to the Caucasian race. These blatantly racist covenants were then declared unconstitutional.
   2) v. to promise.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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  • Covenant — Cov e*nant (k?v ? nant), n. [OF. covenant, fr. F. & OF. convenir to agree, L. convenire. See {Convene}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties, or one of the stipulations in such an agreement. [1913 Webster] Then… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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