Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Alienate Definition:

To sell or otherwise dispose of property.

Related Terms: Conveyance

A term of civil law more extensive than the legal concept of a sale in the common law.

To alienate includes to dispose of, to divest onself of an item of property. Both these words have been used an English equivalents to the French word aliener.

A voluntary conveyance of property, especially real property.

Writing in the South African Law Journal, Jack Dickman described alienate as:

"... a transfer of rights, that is, a delivery of goods, a contract of sale ... the action of transferring ownership to another."

In Quebec, the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities defines alienate as follows:

"Alienation means any conveyance or any declaratory act of ownership of property, including sale with a right of redemption, emphyteusis, alienation for rent, declaration of contribution to a partnership, partition, transfer of a right of superficies...."

Also in Canada, the case called The Queen v. Cie Imm. BCN Ltée was precisely about the meaning of the word alienate. Justice Pratte considered that the words to alienate was synonymous with to dispose and included:

"... any transfer, by way of sale, gift or otherwise, of legal title, to some other person".


  • An Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities, RSQ, c P-41.1
  • Dickman, Jack. A., Alienate and Vervreem in the Insolvency Act, 102 S. African L.J. 11 (1985)
  • The Queen v. Cie Imm. BCN Ltée, [1979] 1 SCR 865

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