chattel vs movable what difference

what is difference between chattel and movable



From Middle English chatel, from Old French chatel, from Medieval Latin capitāle (English capital), from Latin capitālis (of the head), from caput (head) + -alis (-al). Compare the doublet cattle (cows), which is from an Anglo-Norman variant. Compare also capital and kith and kine (all one’s possessions), which also use “cow” to mean “property”.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtʃæt.əl/
    • (US) IPA(key): [-ɾɫ]
  • Rhymes: -ætəl


chattel (plural chattels)

  1. Tangible, movable property.
    • 1990, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, Corgi, p.387
      [] although of course the firm had changed hands many times over the centuries, [] But the box has always been part of the chattels, as it were.
  2. A slave.
    • 1955, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring [Book 2, Chapter 1 – Many Meetings]
      Not all his servants and chattels are wraiths!

Related terms

  • capital
  • cattle



  • latchet


Alternative forms

  • moveable


From Old French movable. Surface etymology is move +‎ -able


movable (comparative more movable, superlative most movable)

  1. Capable of being moved, lifted, carried, drawn, turned, or conveyed, or in any way made to change place or posture; not fixed or stationary
    • 1902, Henry Billings Brown, The Osceola
      The owners had supplied the vessel with a movable derrick for the purpose of raising the gangways of the vessel when in port, in order to discharge cargo.
  2. Changing from one time to another


  • immovable

Derived terms

  • movable letter



movable (plural movables)

  1. Something which is movable; an article of wares or goods; a commodity; a piece of property not fixed, or not a part of real estate; generally, in the plural, goods; wares; furniture.



  • movable in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.

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