fore·​close | \ (ˌ)fȯr-ˈklōz How to pronounce foreclose (audio) \
foreclosed; foreclosing; forecloses

Definition of foreclose

transitive verb

1 : to shut out : preclude
2 : to hold exclusively
3 : to deal with or close in advance
4 : to subject to foreclosure proceedings

intransitive verb

: to foreclose a mortgage

Examples of foreclose in a Sentence

They've been unable to make their mortgage payments, and the bank has threatened to foreclose. The bank has threatened to foreclose their mortgage.
Recent Examples on the Web The election doesn’t totally foreclose the possibility of rare-earth mining in Greenland. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "China’s Rare-Earths Quest Upends Greenland’s Government," 7 Apr. 2021 If a monthly payment was missed, the seller was allowed to foreclose. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "Rabbi Robert J. Marx, social activist and leader of North Shore congregations, dies at 93," 6 Apr. 2021 The city could be forced to foreclose, take possession of the building and sell it, likely at a huge loss., "Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism.," 24 Feb. 2021 Belknap County is crackling with pronouncements like Sylvia’s these days — with righteous political declamations that seek to foreclose all dialogue. Bill Donahue, Washington Post, "This Rural Liberal Set Out to Talk to His Pro-Trump Neighbors," 24 Feb. 2021 The Chicago bank that lent millions of dollars to Paul Manafort under its founder and former longtime chief executive has now sued the former Trump campaign chairman and his wife, seeking to foreclose upon his mansion in the Hamptons. Patricia Hurtado,, "Paul Manafort sued by Chicago bank seeking to foreclose on mansion owned by former Trump campaign chairman," 17 Mar. 2021 The buyers could eventually foreclose on the properties. Emily Opilo,, "Baltimore’s tax sale to proceed on schedule — at least for now — following vote by spending board," 10 Mar. 2021 When the bank was about to foreclose on the family farm, Frey bought it for her own. Marci Schmitt, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Growing Season,' by Sarah Frey," 28 Feb. 2021 The owner of the land where the house sits is trying to evict her, and the holder of the mortgage on her home is trying to foreclose on her. New York Times, "New York Halted Evictions. But What Happens When the Ban Ends?," 1 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foreclose.' 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 foreclose

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for foreclose

Middle English, from Anglo-French forclos, past participle of forclore, forsclore, from fors outside (from Latin foris) + clore to close — more at forum

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Time Traveler for foreclose

Time Traveler

The first known use of foreclose was in the 15th century

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Statistics for foreclose

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foreclose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of foreclose

: to take back property because the money owed for the property has not been paid


fore·​close | \ fōr-ˈklōz How to pronounce foreclose (audio) \

Legal Definition of foreclose

transitive verb

: to subject to foreclosure proceedings

intransitive verb

: to foreclose a mortgage or other security interest — compare repossess, seize sense 2

History and Etymology for foreclose

Anglo-French forclos, past participle of foreclore to preclude, prevent, from fors outside + clore to close

More from Merriam-Webster on foreclose

Nglish: Translation of foreclose for Spanish Speakers

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