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 ?
O mother, dear mother!' cried Ernest, clapping his hands above his head, 'I do hope that I shall live to see him!
And Ernest never forgot the story that his mother told him.
Our friend Ernest, meanwhile, had been deeply stirred by the idea that the great man, the noble man, the man of prophecy, after so many ages of delay, was at length to be made manifest to his native valley.
"Lord Ernest has been a wanderer these twenty years.
Raffles's plan was to gain access to Lord Ernest's rooms before midnight; there we were to lie in wait for the aristocratic rascal, and if I left all details to Raffles, and simply stood by in case of a rumpus, I should be playing my part and earning my share.
"Just left Lord Ernest at Lady Kirkleatham's," said Raffles.
Sir Ernest Heavywether made short work of her, and under his unmerciful bullying she contradicted herself hopelessly, and Sir Ernest sat down again with a satisfied smile on his face.
But I myself was puzzled, and as soon as I was alone with Poirot I asked him what he thought Sir Ernest was driving at.
But Sir Ernest's cross-examination was yet to come.
And little did she dream that for seven long centuries the tribute of her love to Ernest Everhard would repose undisturbed in the heart of the ancient oak of Wake Robin Lodge.
I tried to calm Ernest; I enquired more minutely concerning my father, and her I named my cousin.
"She most of all," said Ernest, "requires consolation; she accused herself of having caused the death of my brother, and that made her very wretched.