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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Consideration

Meaning of Consideration

In contracts consideration consists either in some right , interest , profit or benefit accruing to the one party , or some forbearance , detriment , loss or responsibility given, suffered or undertaken by the other . Something moving from one party to another, either to benefit of one or detriment to the other, something offered by one party and accepted by the other as an element of the contract . See First national Bank of GaUipolis v Marietta Manufacturing Co. of W. Va., 153 S.E.2d 172. Consideration is necessary to support a contract unless the same is under seal. A contract founded on an illegal or immoral consideration is void. Also means the act of deliberation.

Consideration Alternative Definition

(Law Lat. comideratio). The material cause which moves a contracting party to enter into a contract. 2 Bl. Comm. 443. The price, motive, or matter of inducement to a contract, whether it be the compensation which is paid, or the inconvenience which is suffered by the party from whom it proceeds. A compensation or equivalent. A cause or occasion meritorious, requiring mutual recompense in deed or in law. Viner, Abr. “Consideration” (A). The quid pro quo, that which the party to whom a promise is made does or agrees to do in exchange therefor. 120 U.S. 197. Mutuality of obligation, as to each party, is the obligation imposed by the contract on the other party. As applied to contracts, “consideration” and “obligation” are really convertible terms, though frequently used as correlatives. The essence of every contract is its mutuality, and, in necessary consequence, the obligation of each party is the consideration running to the other, while the entire obligation of the contract is the mutual considerations. “The motive for entering into a contract, and the consideration of the contract, are not the saine. Nothing is consideration that is not regarded as such by both parties. It is the price voluntarily paid for the promisor’s undertaking. Expectation of results will not constitute a consideration.” Beach, Cent, § 147. Consideration is the very life and essence of a contract, and a contract or promise for which there is no consideration cannot be enforced at law. Such a promise is called a nudum pactum (ex nudo pacto non oritur actio), or nude pact, because a gratuitous promise to do or pay an3rthing on the one side, without any compensation on the other, could only be enforced, in the Roman law, when mafle (or clothed) with proper words or formalities, pactum verbis prescriptis vestitum. 7 Watts & S. (Pa.) 317; Plowd. 308; Smith, Lead. Cas. 456; Doctor & Stud. 2, c. 24; 3 Call (Va.) 439; 7 Conn. 57; 1 Stew. (Ala.) 51; 5 Mass. 301; 4 Johns. (N. Y.) 235; 6 Yerg. (Tenn.) 418; Cooke (Tenn.) 467; 6 Halst. (N. J.) 174; 4 Munf. (Va.) 95; 11 Md. 281; 25 Miss. 66; 30 Me. 412. Considerations, according to their general nature, are:
(1) Valuable, being one which confers some benefit on the party at whose instance it is made, or upon a third party, at his request, or some detriment sustained at the instance of the party promising by the party to whom the promise is made.
(2) Good, being one of blood, natural affection, or the like. Beach, Cont. § 148; Chit. Cont. 7; Doctor & Stud. 179; 1 Selw. N. P. 39, 40; 2 Pet. (U.S.) 182; 5 Cranch (U.S.) 142, 150; 1 Litt. (Ky.) 183; 3 Johns. (N. Y.) 100; 14 Johns. (N. Y.) 466; 8 N. Y. 207; 6 Mass. 58; 2 Bibb (Ky.) 30; 2 J. J. Marsh. (Ky.) 222; 2 N. H. 97; Wright (Ohio) 660; 5 Watts & S. (Pa.) 427; 13 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 29; 12 Ga. 52; 24 Miss. 9; 4 111. 33; 5 Humph. (Tenn.) 19; 4 Blackf. (Ind.) 388; 3 C. B. 321; 4 East, 55. Valuable considerations are divided by the civilians into four classes, which are given, with literal translations : Do ut des, I give that you may give, facio ut facias, I do that you may do, fado ut des, I do that you may give, do ut facias, I give that you may do. They are also:
(3) Executed or past, being those done or received before the obligor made the promise.
(4) Executory, being those by which it is undertaken to do something in the future. 95 U.S. 683; 6 Colo. 318. They are also:
(5) Concurrent, being those which arise at the same time, or where the promises are simultaneous.
(6) Continuing, being those which are executed only in part.
(7) Equitable, being moral considerations.
(8) Moral, being such as, though not valuable, are of moral obligation, and are sufScient to support an executed contract. 18 S. E. 421.
(9) Gratuitous, being those which are not founded on such a deprivation or injury to the promisee as to make the consideration valid at law. 2 Mich. 381.
(10) Illegal, being agreements to do things in contravention of the common or of statute law.
(11) Impossible, being those which cannot be performed. Considerations have been further classified as “express” or “implied,” accordingly as they are stated in the contract, or left to be inferred by law, but the distinction is based rather on the manner of contracting than on the nature of the consideration. See “Contract.” (Lat. it is considered by the court). A formula used in giving judgments. A judgment is the decision or sentence of the law, given by a court of justice, as the result of proceedings, instituted therein for the redress of an injury. The language of the judgment is not, therefore, that “it is decreed,” or “resolved,” by the court, but that “it is considered by the court,” consideratum est per curiam, that the plaintiff recover his debt, etc 3 Bouv. Inst, note 3298.

Consideration Legal Definition

The cause, price or impelling influence which induces a party to enter into a contract.

Synonyms of Consideration

(Contemplation), noun

  • noun advertency
  • advisement
  • attention
  • attentiveness
  • cogitation
  • consideratio
  • examination
  • forethought
  • heed
  • judgment
  • meditation
  • pondering
  • premeditation
  • reckoning
  • reflection
  • review
  • rumination
  • serious thought
  • speculation
  • study Associated Concepts: due consideration

(Recompense), noun

  • accommodation
  • benefits
  • bounty
  • compensation
  • defrayment
  • disbursement
  • emolument
  • fees
  • financial assistance
  • gratuity
  • guerdon
  • incentive
  • indemnification
  • indemnity
  • inducement
  • largess
  • payment
  • pecuniary aid
  • prize
  • reckoning
  • refund
  • reimbursement
  • remittance
  • remuneration
  • reparation
  • repayment
  • requital
  • restitution
  • return
  • reward
  • satisfaction
  • settlement
  • solatium
  • something of value
  • stipend
  • subsidy
  • sum
  • Associate
    d Concepts: adequate consideration
  • collateral consideration
  • complete failure of consideration
  • consideration for a contract
  • due consideration
  • failure of consideration
  • fair and valuable consideration
  • fictitious consideration
  • founded on a consideration
  • fraud in consideration
  • full and adequate consideration
  • good and sufficient consideration
  • illegal consideration
  • illusory consideration
  • immoral consideration
  • lack of consideration
  • legal consideration
  • meritorious consideration
  • moral consideration
  • mutual consideration
  • new consideration
  • nominal consideration
  • partial failure of consideration
  • past consideration
  • pecuniary consideration
  • present consideration
  • sufficiency of consideration
  • valid consideration
  • want of considerationforeign phrases: Ex turpi causa non oritur actio
  • No cause of action arises out of an immoral or illegal consideration
  • In omnibus contractibus
  • sive nominatis sive innominatis
  • permutatio continetur
  • whether nominate or innominate
  • there is implied an exchange
  • L’obligation sans cause
  • ou sur une fausse cause
  • ou sur cause illicite
  • ne peut avoir aucun ejfet
  • An obligation without consideration
  • or with a false one
  • or with an unlawful one
  • cannot have any effect
  • Nuda pactio obligationem non parit
  • A naked promise does not create a binding obligation
  • Nudum pactum est ubi nulla subest causa praeter conventionem; sed ubi subest causa
  • fit obligatio
  • et parit actionem
  • an obligation is created
  • and an action arises
  • Pacta quae turpem causam continent non sunt observanda
  • Agreements founded upon an immoral consideration are not to be enforced
  • ou sur cause illicite
  • ne peut avoir aucun ejfet
  • An obligation without consideration
  • or with a false one
  • or with an unlawful one
  • cannot have any effect
  • Nuda pactio obligationem non parit
  • A naked promise does not create a binding obligation
  • Nudum pactum est ubi nulla subest causa praeter conventionem; sed ubi subest causa
  • fit obligatio
  • et parit actionem
  • A naked contract is where there is no consideration for the undertaking or agreement; but where there is a consideration
  • an obligation is created
  • and an action arises
  • Pacta quae turpem causam continent non sunt observanda
  • Agreements founded upon an immoral consideration are not to be enforced

(Sympathetic regard), noun

  • accommodation
  • attentiveness
  • beneficence
  • benevolence
  • benignity
  • care
  • chivalry
  • civility
  • clemency
  • compassion
  • complaisance
  • concern
  • considerateness
  • cordiality
  • courteousness
  • courtesy
  • courtliness
  • deference
  • delicacy
  • diplomacy
  • esteem
  • estimation
  • friendliness
  • gallantry
  • generosity
  • geniality
  • gentleness
  • good manners
  • graciousness
  • helpfulness
  • humanity
  • kindheartedness
  • kindliness
  • kindness
  • mercy
  • neighborliness
  • obligingness
  • politeness
  • regard
  • respect
  • solicitousness
  • solicitude
  • tact
  • tenderness
  • thought
  • thoughtful regard
  • thoughtfulness
  • understanding
  • unselfishness
  • willingness to please

Related Entries of Consideration in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Consideration in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Consideration in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Consideration in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Consideration in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Accommodation, Accord And Satisfaction, Adequate, Affirmative Defense, Annuity, Assessment, Capacity, Carrier, Champerty, Clerical Error, Closed Transaction, Collateral, Collateral Order Doctrine, Commercial Frustration, Committee, Commonwealth, Compensate, Compensation, Contract, Deter, Detriment, Dicta, Discount, Draft, Face Amount, Failure Of Consideration, Fortune Telling, , Good Consideration, Gratis, Gratuitous, Group Insurance, Heedless, Immoral, Immoral Contract, Import, Inadequate, Insurable, Insurance, Interest, Judicial Act, , Lease, License, Life Insurance, Mail Classification, Manor, Material Evidence, Miscarriage Of Justice, Money Had And Received, Motion For A Directed Verdict, , Naked, Negligence, , Non-justiciable, Open Contract, Option, Paralegal, Pension, Pensioner, Percentage, Policy Of Insurance, Premises, Premium, Price, Reasonable Doubt, Reciprocity, Rehearing, Release, , Respective, Restraint Of Trade, Resulting Trust, , Sale Of Goods, Satisfaction, Sex Discrimination, Simple Licence, Special Purpose Or Use, Sub Judice, Subject, Subscription, Table.


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Consideration in the Dictionary Consideration in our legal dictionaries
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Related topics Consideration in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Consideration is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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English Spanish Translation of Consideration

Retribución, contraprestación

Find other English to Spanish translations from the Pocket Spanish English Legal Dictionary (print and online), the English to Spanish to English dictionaries (like Consideration) and the Word reference legal translator.


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Contracts; Performance; Promise.


  • Consideration in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of consideration.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Policeman
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    English Legal System: Consideration

    In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Consideration :

    An act, forbearance, or promise by one party to a contract that constitutes the price for which he buys the promise of the other. Consideration is essential to the validity of any contract other than one made by deed. Without consideration an agreement not made by deed is not binding: it is a nudum pactum (naked agreement), governed by the maxim ex nudo pacto non oritur actio (a right of action does not arise out of a naked agreement).

    The doctrine of consideration is governed by four major principles:

    (1) A valuable consideration is required, i.e. the act, forbearance, or promise must have some economic value. Good consideration (natural love and affection or a moral duty) is not enough to render a promise enforceable.

    (2) Consideration need not be adequate but it must be sufficient. Not to be adequate in this context means that it need not constitute a realistic price for the promise it buys, as long as it has some economic value. If X promises to sell his £50,000 house to Y for £5000, Y is giving valuable consideration despite its inadequacy. £1 is often the consideration in commercial contracts. That it must be sufficient means sufficient in law. A person’s performance of, or promise to perform, an existing duty usually cannot in law constitute consideratio

    (3) Consideration must move from the promisee. Thus if
    X promises to give Y £1000 in return for Y’s promise to give employment to Z, Z cannot enforce Y’s promise, for he has not supplied the consideration for it.

    (4) Consideration may be executory or executed but must not be past. A promise in return for a promise (as in a contract of sale) is executory consideration; an act or forbearance in return for a promise (as in giving information to obtain a reward) is executed consideratio However, a completed act or forbearance is past consideration in relation to any subsequent promise. For example, if X gives information to Y gratuitously and Y then promises to reward him this is past consideration, which does not constitute consideratio

    Concept of Consideration in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Consideration: Anything which is, legally, of value, and induces one to enter into a contract.

    Concept of Consideration in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Consideration: Anything which is, legally, of value, and induces one to enter into a contract.



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