Definition of chattel
1 : an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property These statutes do not apply to personal property; for chattels, an oral statement of donative intent plus delivery still suffices.— William M. McGovern, Jr. et al. — sometimes used as a mass noun The program takes advantage of a New Hampshire law that requires all manufactured homes … to be titled as real property instead of chattel, said Patrick McCarthy, Fannie Mae vice president for community lending.— Brad Finkelstein
2 : an enslaved person held as the legal property of another : bondman He had struck down my personality, had subjected me to his will, made property of my body and soul, reduced me to a chattel …— Frederick Douglass Some, most notably the Quakers, hoped that moral suasion would convince slaveholders to free their chattels.— Mary Beth Norton et al. — often used as a mass noun … [George] Washington is tainted by our country's original sin: slavery. He owned other human beings as chattel.— Robert SchlesingerUltimately, the book illuminates both the tragedy of holding human chattel and the corruption that flows from such inhumanity.— Melba Newsome — see also chattel slavery
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