earnest

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earnest

in Anglo-American law a part-payment made to seal a bargain. At times the implication has been of a token sum that is forfeitable. The Roman law tradition has a very developed equivalent: ARRA. See also DEPOSIT.

EARNEST, contracts. The payment of a part of the price of goods sold, or the delivery of part of such goods, for the purpose of binding the contract.
     2. The effect of earnest is to bind the goods sold, and upon their being paid for without default, the buyer is entitled to them. But notwithstanding the earnest, the money must be paid upon taking away the goods, because no other time for payment is appointed; earnest only binds the bargain, and gives the buyer a right to demand, but a demand without payment of the money is void; after earnest given the vendor cannot sell the goods to another, without a default in the vendee, and therefore if the latter does not come and pay, and take the goods, the vendor ought to go and request him, and then if he does not come, pay for the goods and take them away in convenient time, the agreement is dissolved, and he is at liberty to sell them to any other person. 1 Salk. 113: 2 Bl. Com. 447; 2 Kent, Com. 389; Ayl. Pand. 450; 3 Campb. R. 426.

References in classic literature ?
'By my faith, madam,' says Robin, ''tis in vain to mince the matter or tell any more lies about it; I am in earnest, as much as a man is that's going to be hanged.
At the beginning of this school there were about twelve strong, earnest men and women who entered the class.
She knew that he was a man of a noble nature, high-minded and earnest. And yet she did not like this secrecy, this disinclination upon the part of one so frank and honest as Ida to tell her what was passing.
The earnest girl brought forward a scheme of "personal supervision and mutual help," the effect of which was to alter poor people until they became exactly like people who were not so poor.
Helen and Margaret walked the earnest girl as far as Battersea Bridge Station, arguing copiously all the way.
'Well, I will,' returned the other, 'though you are not earnest yet.'
But if you don't profit by this visit, and act accordingly, you will find me as bitterly in earnest against you as I could be if I deemed you worth a second thought on my own account.'
"Yes," said Erskine, trembling, "and I thought he meant in earnest in loving you.
The event of to-day has shown me that she is terribly in earnest. Lady Janet has issued invitations for one of her grand balls at Mablethorpe House; and sh e has caused the report to be circulated everywhere that the object of the festival is 'to celebrate the marriage of Mr.