Where do these common Brisbane property terms come from?

Here is the history of four commonly used real estate terms that all Brisbane property punters will have come across:

“Real Estate” –

The first documented use of this term was in the 1600s. “Estate” is derived from the Latin words “stare” (meaning “to stand”) and “status” (meaning “state or condition”). The use of “Real” is believed to have come from Latin also – either from the root “res” (meaning “things), or from “rex” (meaning “royal” – as historically all land was owned by royals). The use of “real” is thought to have come about as a reference to the tangible nature of land/property as distinct from . Later on the use of “Real” evolved to refer to immovable things, as distinct from furniture etc.

“Auction” –

The term is derived from the Latin word “augeō” (meaning “I increase”). Auctions have been going on for thousands of years and have proved a steadfast method for humans to trade goods. If you’re thinking of selling Brisbane property via auction read our article on the rules and regulations surrounding Brisbane property auctions.

“Landlord” –

This one shouldn’t be a surprise as it is merely the lovechild of “land” and “lord”.  It can be traced back to the Middle Ages where in Medieval Europe “landlords” were appointed as protectors of individual villages. The landlord was tasked with protecting the land and the people who lived there. In return, the villagers “paid” their landlord.


“Apartment” –

This is the English equivalent of the French word “Appartement” and the Italian word “Appartamento”. All are derived from the Latin words “ad” and “pars” (meaning “to part”).

“Mortgage” –

We saved the best for last. Unsurprisingly the word “mortgage” is associated with death. Another term derived from Latin, “mort” (meaning “dead” or “death”) and “gage” (meaning “pledge” or “promise”). Literally translated, mortgage means death pledge!

There is some dispute around what the term originally meant. Some believe that it ties back to the landed gentry where the eldest son inherited his father’s wealth. If the son was strapped for cash he could borrow money and sign a pledge to repay it after the death of his father. Others believe that “death pledges” were so named because the gage “died” when the loan was fully repaid, or that the property was dead to the mortgage holder if they failed to repay the debt.


So there you have it Brisbane property punters! A quick snapshot of the history of four of our commonly used real estate terms.


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Where do these common Brisbane property terms come from?