In honor of the Merriam Webster tax season recently tweeted the origins of the “mortgage”. It is derived from two old French words that mean “death” and “promise”.
While “promise of death” may sound right to some of you, others may be wondering how “mortgage” led to such a dark ancestry story.
As many of you know, a “mortgage” is a loan for the purchase of real estate. The loan is secured by a lien on the property. There are two possible explanations for its dark origins and, perhaps unsurprisingly, both involve different things that die, are lost, or become void.
One explanation is that when you repay the pledge – that is, the loan that you “pledged” to repay, the debt will die or become void. You pay off your mortgage and the debt dies. The other explanation is that if you don’t repay the loan, the property you placed the mortgage on will be lost or died.
“Mortgage” came from old French to English in the 13th century. It begins with the more general meaning of an agreement where a benefit is obtained at the expense of agreeing to a restriction. The legal meaning of “mortgage” that we are familiar with today can be seen by 1450.
That means “mortgage” as we have known it for centuries. Incidentally, it takes about that long for one to pay off.
This week we also discussed the uplifting subject of “guilt of all charges” and “guilt of all charges”. To hear it, listen to the audio above.