Glossary of Terms

The title industry has its own language. Many of its words and idioms are derived from the language of the law while others are common words given special meaning related to land titles. There are also words and phrases coined over the years by the title industry itself.

While functions of the title industry are substantially the same throughout the nation, words describing or relating to the same thing often differ considerably in various parts of the country. Also, in many instances, several different words have substantially the same meaning. You will learn that a “closing” in one area is called a “settlement” in another. You will also learn that a title plant is not something green growing in a garden; that a suit is not a garment or wearing apparel; that an execution is not a public hanging; that prescription is not medication prepared at a drug store; that “writ” is not a colloquial past participle of “write;” that to condemn is not to censure or criticize; and that courts which deal with wills and estates of deceased persons are called “Ordinary’s Court” in some states, in others “Orphan’s Court,” while in others they are called “Probate Court” and in still others, “Surrogate Court”.

Title company employees should know their industry's language. To assist you in this regard we have compiled this glossary of words and terms used in the title industry. The list is not exhaustive or complete. Words and terms will be found which are not in common use in a particular area. No attempt has been made to conform definitions to dictionary standards. Only meanings familiar in the title business are shown. Definitions, as far as possible, are in layman's language, substantially accurate and comprehensive without being technically or legalistically correct.