Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To deprive (a mortgagor) of the right to redeem mortgaged property, as when payments have not been made.
  • transitive v. To bar an equity or a right to redeem (a mortgage).
  • transitive v. To exclude or rule out; bar.
  • transitive v. To settle or resolve beforehand.
  • intransitive v. To bar an equity or a right to redeem a mortgage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to repossess a mortgaged property whose owner has failed to make the necessary payments
  • v. to prevent from doing something

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To shut up or out; to preclude; to stop; to prevent; to bar; to exclude.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shut out; exclude; prevent.
  • In law: To shut out by a judicial decree from further opportunity to assert a right or claim: said of the process by which all persons previously having right to redeem property from a forfeiture for non-payment of a debt are finally cut off from that right: as, to foreclose a mortgager of his equity of redemption.
  • Hence— To enforce, as a mortgage, by shutting out in due process of law a mortgager and those claiming under him from the right to redeem the property mortgaged.
  • To enforce a mortgage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  • v. subject to foreclosing procedures; take away the right of mortgagors to redeem their mortgage

Etymologies

Middle English forclosen, to exclude from an inheritance, from Old French forclos, shut out, past participle of forclore, to exclude : fors-, outside (from Latin forīs; see dhwer- in Indo-European roots) + clore, to close (from Latin claudere).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English foreclosen, forclosen, from Old French forclos, past participle of forclore ("to exclude"), from for + clore ("to shut"). Some senses originated from or were influenced by Middle English forclusen ("to close up"), from Old English forclȳsan ("to close up"), equivalent to for- +‎ close. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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