Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Movable Definition:

Civil law: things not attached to land and which may be carried from place to place.

Related Terms: Immovable, Chattel, Personal Property, Mobilia Sequuntur Personam, Immobilia Situa, Goods

Also spelled moveable.

Things which are mobile, portable; which can be moved with an owner from place to place.

A civil law term but often used in the common law of property as synonymous with chattel or personal property (as opposed to real estate or real property or, for that matter, immovables).

Both Bouvier and Stephen's Commentaries use the words:

"as... attend a man's person wherever he goes."

Stephen's Commentaries provides some background:

"Things personal, then, comprise in the first place all sorts of things moveable, that is, such as may attend a man's person wherever he goes. These, being for the most part of a perishable quality, were not esteemed of so high a nature, not paid so much regard to by the common law as things that are in their nature immoveable and more permanent, such as land and houses....

"... (I)n modern times, through the extension of trade and commerce, and the progress of the arts and sciences, personal property has greatly augmented both in amount and in quality; and our Courts now attach to it an importance equal to that which they attach to real property.

"Moveables consist, in the first place, of inanimate things, such as goods, ... money and the like, or vegetable productions such as the fruit or other parts of a plant itself when severed from the ground; in the second (place), under the name of moveables, we have to include animals...."


  • Bouvier, John, Bouvier's Law Dictionary (Boston: The Boston Book Company, 1897), p. 450
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Immovable
  • Jenks, E., Stephen's Commentaries on the Laws of England (London: Butterworth & Co., 1922), p. 502-503.

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