Derelict Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Derelict, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Derelict?

n. Someone or something which has been abandoned. For example: a ship that was left to drift in the ocean or a homeless person who is ignored by family and society.

History and Meaning of Derelict

The term "derelict" originated in the late 16th century from the Latin word "derelictus" meaning abandoned, forsaken, or neglected. The term is typically used to describe someone or something that has been abandoned or neglected and has fallen into a state of disrepair or decay. Dereliction can happen to various things like properties, ships, vehicles, and even people who have been abandoned by others who are supposed to care for them.

Examples of Derelict

  1. A building that has been abandoned for years and has fallen into disrepair is considered derelict.
  2. A car that's been left in a junkyard and is rusted and unusable is a derelict vehicle.
  3. A person who has been left on the street and is homeless is a derelict person.
  4. After a storm, a ship that has been left to drift in the ocean is considered derelict.
  5. A parent who has forsaken their child and left them to fend for themselves is also a derelict.

Legal Terms Similar to Derelict

  1. Abandoned property - Property left behind by the owner with no intent to assume or reclaim ownership.
  2. Neglect - Failure to provide for something or someone, often leading to harm or deterioration.
  3. Forfeiture - The loss of property as a penalty for some wrongdoing.
  4. Seizure - The taking of property by legal process or force.
  5. Distraint - The seizure of someone's property to compel payment of debts or rent.