es·​crow | \ ˈe-ˌskrō How to pronounce escrow (audio) , e-ˈskrō\

Definition of escrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a deed, a bond, money, or a piece of property held in trust by a third party to be turned over to the grantee only upon fulfillment of a condition
2 : a fund or deposit designed to serve as an escrow
in escrow
: in trust as an escrow had $1000 in escrow to pay taxes


es·​crow | \ e-ˈskrō How to pronounce escrow (audio) , ˈe-ˌskrō How to pronounce escrow (audio) \
escrowed; escrowing; escrows

Definition of escrow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to place in escrow

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Did You Know?

the form of a deed, money or property, escrow is that is held by a third party and handed over to the grantee only upon the fulfillment of some condition. In commercial usage, this condition is most often the performance of some act by the party who is to receive the instrument. Escrow is also used in family transactions (as when the death of one family member results in an instrument being delivered to another family member).

Examples of escrow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Companies that require secure communications — banks, escrow companies, financial managers, etc. Patrick Marshall, The Seattle Times, "How much email security do you need?," 9 June 2018 Prosecutors have examined whether the brothers’ company, Amsterdam Hospitality Group, hid money in attorney escrow accounts in a potential attempt to evade taxes, these people said. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Prosecutors Probe Hoteliers Paid by New York City to House Homeless," 18 Jan. 2019 But Cruise pulled out of escrow on the last possible day, and his partners followed suit. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "An Empty Lot Above Beverly Hills Is the Most Expensive Real Estate in the World," 17 Jan. 2019 When your taxes are due to the county, the lender takes the money out of escrow and pays it. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "6 Things Nobody Tells You About Buying A Home," 17 July 2018 During five months in 2014, consumers filed multiple reports to police and to the state, alleging that Leaza Lopez had stolen their money by failing to forward escrow payments to the appropriate mortgage companies. Paul Brinkmann,, "Orlando title agent gets six-year jail sentence; husband charged," 2 Apr. 2018 Carmody is getting the land for $1, in return for placing the roughly $340,000 into a construction escrow account to help finance Barnard Village, Biernat said. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Developer plans 36-unit market-rate apartment project on former Cudahy industrial site," 19 Mar. 2018 But Iraqi payments are to be sent to an escrow account in Baghdad and used to purchase humanitarian and civilian goods. WSJ, "Iran Vows to ‘Break’ Sanctions as U.S. Reimposes Ban on Oil," 5 Nov. 2018 As a result, the owners agreed to the commission’s decision to keep the $30,000 that was held in escrow—a requirement when a historic structure is lifted to excavate a basement. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "The Millionaires Living in the Mining Cabins," 1 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When property is transferred from seller to buyer, the title company (or escrow company, as it is called out west) goes to the local recorder of deeds. Benny L. Kass,, "Paid off your house? You don't need a deed," 20 July 2017 Burns will escrow the $1,000 donation from Bakken until Madison employment officials issue a decision in the Nordic case, according to Amanda Brink, a Burns spokeswoman. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: State Democrats rake in cash from businessman caught up in sexual harassment case," 20 Feb. 2018 Happily, the money got to escrow just before the sellers’ patience had worn thin. Leslie Sargent Eskildsen, Orange County Register, "Happy endings that don’t happen every day," 1 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escrow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of escrow


1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1946, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for escrow


Anglo-French escroue scroll — more at scroll

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Statistics for escrow

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for escrow

The first known use of escrow was in 1594

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More Definitions for escrow



Financial Definition of escrow

What It Is

Escrow is a financial arrangement whereby a third party holds funds in safekeeping pending the completion of a contract or other obligation.

How It Works

For example, let's assume a situation where someone is purchasing a home. Instead of immediately giving the seller the purchase amount, the buyer may deposit the money into an escrow account and attach certain stipulations to the purchase agreement. These stipulations might include performing necessary repairs to the property, catching up on property taxes, or passing an inspection.

In turn, the escrow agent will not give the seller the money until they meet those requirements, and to protect the seller, the agent will not return the money to the buyer until the seller has failed to meet their obligations.

Why It Matters

Escrow protects both the buyer and the seller in a transaction by ensuring that both parties perform according to the provisions of the deal. Escrow fees are common costs associated with buying and selling houses and other real estate.

Source: Investing Answers


es·​crow | \ ˈes-ˌkrō How to pronounce escrow (audio) \

Legal Definition of escrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an instrument and especially a deed or money or property held by a third party to be turned over to the grantee and become effective only upon the fulfillment of some condition
2 : a fund or deposit designed to serve as an escrow
in escrow
: held as an escrow : in trust as an escrow had $1000 in escrow to pay taxes — compare trust

Legal Definition of escrow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause to be held as an escrow : place in escrow

History and Etymology for escrow


Anglo-French escroue deed delivered on condition, literally, scroll, strip of parchment, from Old French escroe

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More from Merriam-Webster on escrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with escrow

Spanish Central: Translation of escrow

Nglish: Translation of escrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of escrow for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about escrow

Comments on escrow

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