The Professional
Bankruptcy Dictionary


Using the Free Bankruptcy Dictionary

This dictionary includes only those words and phrases most frequently associated with the American federal bankruptcy system. It includes words that are deemed "terms of art," meaning that the words and phrases have meanings, when used in the bankruptcy context, that may vary from meanings used in common non-legal usage, or in other legal contexts. Some of the words or phrases may even have different meanings depending on which sub-context is used within the Bankruptcy Code or other bankruptcy literature.

Sections of the Bankruptcy Code consulted for words and phrases include, but are not limited to, § §101, 102, 741, 746, and 1101, and Rules 9001 and 9002.

The definitions of most of the words and phrases appearing here are supported by citation to the Bankruptcy Code, the Official Bankruptcy Rules, bankruptcy case law or such other authority as may be helpful; these citations appear at the end of the definition in italic. Many of the definitions are reproduced here verbatim from the Code or the Rules. Citation “Sec.” refers to the Bankruptcy Code; citation “Rule” refers to the Bankruptcy Rules; citation “Public Information Series of the Bankruptcy Judges Division” refers to the online explanation of bankruptcy appearing on the web site of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.

NOTE: the definitions appearing in this dictionary are meant for general education and quick reference; caution should be used in citing any definition verbatim from this dictionary to advance a legal argument; some of the definitions are paraphrased or composed from common usage and may not accurately reflect their proper definitions based on the legal contexts in which they are used.