fore·​clo·​sure | \ (ˌ)fȯr-ˈklō-zhər How to pronounce foreclosure (audio) \

Definition of foreclosure

: an act or instance of foreclosing specifically : a legal proceeding that bars or extinguishes a mortgagor's right of redeeming a mortgaged estate

Examples of foreclosure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ownership entities for all but Winston Square Apartments filed for bankruptcy protection in May to stop foreclosure proceedings by the lender. Patrick Danner,, "Los Angeles nonprofit agrees to buy five San Antonio apartments complexes for $41.6M," 7 Dec. 2019 But the targeting turned out to be twofold: Some properties in those poor neighborhoods — including Frogtown — are now much more vulnerable to foreclosure. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man’s catch-22 case reveals impact of ‘accelerated foreclosure’ in Frogtown and other low-income neighborhoods," 2 Nov. 2019 Three Milwaukee-area former Boston Store buildings have been given back to their lender as the result of foreclosure proceedings. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Three Milwaukee-area former Boston Store buildings have been given back to their lender through foreclosure," 1 Nov. 2019 Not long after foreclosure proceedings began, a man named Eli Mashieh approached Mr. Griffiths claiming to run August West Development, a real estate firm in Queens, according to Theresa Trzaskoma, Mr. Griffiths’s lawyer. New York Times, "Why Black Homeowners in Brooklyn Are Being Victimized by Fraud," 21 Oct. 2019 In the day’s second case, the court weighed whether a federal law governing debt-collection practices applies to certain foreclosure proceedings. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Misses First Day of Arguments," 7 Jan. 2019 Unemployment was 12 percent, the state had a yawning budget gap and foreclosures were bad enough that skateboarders were rejoicing at the surplus of empty swimming pools. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "California Is Booming. Why Are So Many Californians Unhappy?," 29 Dec. 2019 It had been posted for foreclosure Dec. 3, but the company reached an agreement with its lender, Great Central Mortgage Acceptance Co. Ltd. of San Antonio, the day before. Patrick Danner,, "Tax dispute lands San Antonio-area music venue in bankruptcy," 16 Dec. 2019 The owner of Granby Ranch is surrendering the ski and golf community in northern Colorado to avoid foreclosure. Jim Salter, The Denver Post, "Granby Ranch owner surrenders northern Colorado ski area to avoid foreclosure," 12 Dec. 2019

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

1713, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for foreclosure

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The first known use of foreclosure was in 1713

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Statistics for foreclosure

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foreclosure.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for foreclosure



Financial Definition of foreclosure

What It Is

Foreclosure occurs when a lender seizes and sells a borrower's collateral after the borrower has failed to repay the lender. The term is most often associated with real estate.

How It Works

In general, there are eight events involved in a foreclosure (in this example, we assume the borrower has obtained a mortgage for a house from the lender).

1. The borrower signs a contract agreeing to repay the lender over a period of time, usually in predetermined installments.
2. The borrower misses one or more payments.
3. The lender sends the borrower one or more notices of delinquency.
4. The borrower and the lender try to adjust the repayment schedule so that the borrower is more likely to make at least some of the payments until he or she gets back on his feet. (This process is called special forbearance or mortgage modification.)
5. The borrower misses additional payments.
6. The lender sends the borrower a notice of default and initiates foreclosure proceedings.

A) In a judicial foreclosure, a court confirms the amount owed to the lender and gives the borrower a set amount of time to pay up ("cure the default").
B) In a nonjudicial foreclosure, the loan document authorizes the lender to sell the property to recover the loan balance.
7. The lender puts the property up for sale and publishes a notice of the sale in the local paper. The notice includes a description of the property, the name of the borrower, and other information. The borrower might file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure temporarily.
8. A public auction occurs during business hours, and the highest bidder is usually entitled to buy the property. At that point, the borrower cannot get the property back unless he or she buys it back.

Why It Matters

The foreclosure process can take several months, if not years, and it does long-term damage to a person's credit report. It is important to note that foreclosure laws vary by state, and they affect the order or duration of these steps. It is also important to note that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act affects foreclosure proceedings by stipulating the methods lenders can use to go after bad debts.

[Click here to read Seven Ways to Stop a Foreclosure on Your Home]

Source: Investing Answers


fore·​clos·​ure | \ fōr-ˈklō-zhər How to pronounce foreclosure (audio) \

Legal Definition of foreclosure

1 : a legal proceeding that bars or extinguishes a mortgagor's equity of redemption in mortgaged real property — see also deficiency judgment at judgment, redeem, right of redemption, statutory foreclosure, strict foreclosure sense 1
2 : the extinguishment (as under the provisions of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code) of the rights of a debtor in personal property subject to a security interest by judicial proceedings and especially by judicial sale — see also strict foreclosure sense 2

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