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A meeting of minds with the understanding and acceptance of reciprocal legal rights and duties as to particular actions or obligations, which the parties intend to exchange; a mutual assent to do or refrain from doing something; a contract.

The writing or document that records the meeting of the minds of the parties. An oral compact between two parties who join together for a common purpose intending to change their rights and duties.

An agreement is not always synonymous with a contract because it might lack an essential element of a contract, such as consideration.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) n. any meeting of the minds, even without legal obligation. 2) in law, another name for a contract including all the elements of a legal contract: offer, acceptance, and consideration (payment or performance), based on specific terms. (See: contract)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

AGREEMENT, contract. The consent of two or more persons concurring, respecting the transmission of some property, right or benefit, with a view of contracting an obligation. Bac. Ab. h.t.; Com. Dig. h.t.; Vin. Ab. h.t.; Plowd. 17; 1 Com. Contr. 2; 5 East's R. 16. It will be proper to consider, 1, the requisites of an agreement; 2, the kinds of agreements; 3, how they are annulled.
     2.-1. To render an agreement complete six things must concur; there must be, 1, a person able to contract; 2, a person able to be contracted with; 3, a thing to be contracted for; 4, a lawful consideration, or quid pro quo; 5, words to express the agreement; 6, the assent of the contracting parties. Plowd. 161; Co. Litt. 35, b.
     3.-2. As to their form, agreements are of two kinds; 1, by parol, or, in writing, as contradistinguished from specialties; 2, by specialty, or under seal. In relation to their performance, agreements are executed or executory. An agreement is said to be executed when two or more persons make over their respective rights in a thing to one another, and thereby change the property therein, either presently and at once, or at a future time, upon some event that shall give it full effect, without either party trusting to the other; as where things are bought, paid for and delivered. Executory agreements, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, are such contracts as rest on articles, memorandums, parol promises, or undertakings, and the like, to be performed in future, or which are entered into preparatory to more solemn and formal alienations of property. Powell on Cont. Agreements are also conditional and unconditional. They are conditional when some condition must be fulfilled before they can have full effect; they are unconditional when there is no condition attached;
     4.-3. Agreements are annulled or rendered of no effect, first, by the acts of the parties, as, by payment; release - accord and satisfaction; rescission, which is express or implied; 1 Watts & Serg. 442; defeasance; by novation: secondly, by the acts of the law, as, confusion; merger; lapse of time; death, as when a man who has bound himself to teach an apprentice, dies; extinction of the thing which is the subject of the contract, as, when the agreement is to deliver a certain horse and before the time of delivery he dies. See Discharge of a Contract.
     5. The writing or instrument containing an agreement is also called an agreement, and sometimes articles of agreement.(q.v.)
     6. It is proper, to remark that there is much difference between an agreement and articles of agreement which are only evidence of it. From the moment that the parties have given their consent, the agreement or contract is formed, and, whether it can be proved or not, it has not less the quality to bind both contracting parties. A want of proof does not make it null, because that proof may be supplied aliunde, and the moment it is obtained, the contract may be enforced.
     7. Again, the agreement may be mull, as when it was obtained by fraud, duress, and the like; and the articles of agreement may be good, as far as the form is concerned. Vide Contract. Deed; Guaranty; Parties to Contracts.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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