Movable Property – tangible or intangible property that is not land or buildings: can be moved or displaced

. (usu. pl.) (15c)

1. Property that can be moved or displaced, such as personal goods; a tangible or intangible thing in which an interest constitutes personal property; specifically, anything that is not so attached to land as to be regarded as a part of it as determined by local law. — aka movable property; movable thing. [1]

1. That which can be changed in place, as movable property; or in time, as movable feasts or terms of court. See Wood v. George. 0 Dana (Ky.) 343; Strong v. White, 19 Conn. 245; Goddard v. Winchell, 86 Iowa, 71, 52 N. W. 1124, 17 L. R. A. 7SS, 41 Am. St Rep. 481. [2]

1. Referring to that which may be moved from one place to another. 


1. Personal property; movables. [2]

     Excerpt from David M. Walker’s The Oxford Companion to Law (1980):

     “Movables and immovables.  The main distinction drawn in later Roman law and modern systems based thereon between kinds of things subject to ownership and possession.  While basically the distinction corresponds to everyday conceptions, assigning animals and vehicles to the former and land and buildings to the latter category, particular things may be assigned to one category rather than the other for reasons of convenience.  Thus, in French law, farm implements and animals are immovables.  The distinction is also important, in international private law, more so than that between real and personal . . . . Thus, land held on lease is personal property by English law for historical reason, but in international private law it is a right in immovable property. [4]

p intangible movable. (1931) A physical thing that can be moved but that cannot be touched in the usual sense.  Examples are light and electricity. .

“‘Intangible movables’ is a term of art in the common law which has been applied more widely than its meaning literally justifies, which is merely to those things that have physical existence and can be moved, though cannot be touched in the normal sense, such as light, electricityand radioactive waves. In English law the term has been generally applied to interests created by law which have only a legal, not a physical existence, and are accordingly capable only of legal, not physical, movement. it is convenient, however, to retain a term which is generally accepted and understood in this special legal meaning.” R.H. Graveson, Conflict of Laws 470 (7th ed. 1974).

2. Scots law. A nonheritable right. -Also spelled (BrE) moveable. Cf. IMMOVABLE. -movable, adj. ’

     “Moveables are, in the phraseology of the law of Scotland, opposed to heritage; so that every species of property, and every right a person can hold, is by that law either heritable or moveable. Hence, moveables are not merely corporeal subjects capable of being moved, but every Species of property, corporeal or incorporeal, which does not descend to the heir in heritage.” William Bell, Bell’s Dictionary and Digest of the Law of Scotland 662 (George Watson ed., 1882).

immovable, n. (usu. pl.) (16c) Property that cannot be moved; an object so firmly attached to land that it is regarded as part of the land. — aka immovable thing. See FIXTURE. -immovable, adj.

     “Considered in its legal aspect, an immovable, that is to say, a piece of land, includes the following elements: 1. A determinate portion of the earth’s surface. 2. The ground beneath the surface down to the centre of the world. All the pieces of land in England meet together in one terminable point at the earth’s centre. 3. Possibly the column of space above the surface ad infinitum.” John Salmond, Jurisprudence 428 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).

Chattel – movable, tangible property.

  • Personal Chattel – a tangible good or an intangible right (such as a patent).
  • Real Chattel – an interest in real property that is less than a freehold or fee, such as an estate for years in land (i.e. a leasehold).

personal property:

1. All property other than real property (EXAMPLES: money; goods; chattels; movables; a chose in actin; evidence of debt), including stock, bonds, or a mortgage.  Personal property may be further categorized as corporeal property (or tangible property) and incorporeal property (or intangible property).


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[1]:  Black’s Law Dictionary 2nd Edition Online, “Who Is Henry Campbell Black?”:

[2] Black’s Law Dictionary Second Edition Online

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: David M. Walker, The Oxford Companion to Law 858 (1980).


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