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escheat (es-CHEET) noun

1. The reversion of property to the state or crown in case of no legal heirs.

2. Property that has reverted to the state or crown.

verb tr. and intr.

To revert or cause to revert property.

[From Middle English eschete, from Old French eschete, from Vulgar Latin excadere, from Latin ex- + cadere (to fall).]

"New York escheats most dormant assets after five years, which is about average. Some states, such as Iowa, take most assets after three years; others, such as Pennsylvania, wait seven." Drew Fetherston, It's a Treat to Beat Escheat, Newsday (New York), Jul 25, 1994.

This week's theme: red-herring words.


Bed is the poor man's opera. -Italian proverb

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