es·​crow | \ˈe-ˌskrō, 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, ˈe-ˌskrō \
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

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 Many properties are expected to sit for months — in some cases, for more than a year — before going into escrow for a sale. Fortune, "Warren Buffett's Beach House Is Among Luxury Real Estate Sitting on the Market," 5 July 2018 Michigan law makes it a five-year felony, with a potential fine of up to $5,000, if someone fails to properly deposit prepaid funeral funds into escrow. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan regulators shut Barksdale Funeral Home in Detroit for bloodstains, fraud, filth," 17 Jan. 2018 Region ZIP codes with highest home sale in May over $1 million Twenty-eight ZIP codes in our region had their highest home sale in May 2018 close escrow for over $1 million. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "'That's a California thing.' Sacramento ranks high among cities with million-dollar homes," 7 July 2018 When the league determines the appropriate HRR for each year, players may be refunded a portion of the escrow. Michael Mccann And Robert Raiola,, "Where Will John Tavares Go and How Much Money Will He Take Home?," 27 June 2018 In addition to the leadership purge, ZTE is required to pay a $1 billion fine, place $400 million in escrow and submit to an outside monitor as part of its deal with the Commerce Department. Dan Strumpf, WSJ, "China’s ZTE Replaces Executives in Rush to Comply With U.S. Mandate," 5 July 2018 The government will hold $400 million of ZTE’s money in escrow as a hedge against future violations by the company, which last year settled criminal and civil charges in connection with violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Damian Paletta,, "France’s Macron threatens rare rebuke of US at G7, Trump fires back," 8 June 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

28 Nov 2018

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 \

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

What made you want to look up escrow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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