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Here, the verb appropriate is followed by TO. What does it mean that someone appropriates "goods of that description and in a deliverable state" TO THE CONTRACT? At large, what does it mean that a person appropriates goods TO THE CONTRACT? This syntax feels bizarre.

Which definition of appropriate applies here? I know many legal terms are still in Latin. Is the Latinate meaning of appropriate relevant at all?

Googling links to this wordreference.com thread. Sale of Goods Act 1979

Rule 5.

(1) Where there is a contract for the sale of unascertained or future goods by description, and goods of that description and in a deliverable state are unconditionally appropriated to the contract, either by the seller with the assent of the buyer or by the buyer with the assent of the seller, the property in the goods then passes to the buyer; and the assent may be express or implied, and may be given either before or after the appropriation is made.

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A popular word meaning the same would be assigned.

See for instance Merriam-Webster entry 2 definition 2: "to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use".

As an example, if you go into a pub and ask for a pint of beer and the barman says "certainly sir", at that point there is a contract of sale but you are not the owner of any part of the beer in the barrel. But when the barman fills a glass for you at that point the beer is appropriated to the contract of sale and becomes your property. The beer has been appropriated to the contract by the seller with the assent of the buyer.

On the other hand if the barman says "certainly sir but I am a bit busy right now so would you mind coming round this side of the bar and filling a glass from the barrel yourself" that means that the beer has been appropriated to the contract by the buyer with the assent of the seller.

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  • Can you pls elaborate? How did "appropriate" shift to mean "assign"? How's "appropriate" semantically related to "assign"?
    – Wes
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 11:49
  • "assign" is a rough equivalent in everyday English. Appropriate - pronounced appropri - ATE as a verb is standard English but not so commonly used so you might not have come across it in the verb form if English is not your first language.
    – Nemo
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 12:16
  • @4less: See for instance Merriam-Webster entry 2 definition 2: "to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use". It's more commonly used for money, e.g. when a legislature appropriates funds for a spending program. I think further questions about the etymology should go to English.SE. Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 13:45
  • Perhaps another synonym would be “allocate”? Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 10:58
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The standard reference for legal terms is Black's Law Dictionary; the 1910 edition is in the public domain in the US and is available for download on Internet Archive. You may wish to consult it for future questions of this kind.

On page 80, we have definition 2 of appropriate:

To prescribe a particular use for particular moneys; to designate or destine a fund or property for a distinct use, or for the payment of a particular demand.

So it means that the goods are designated or destined to the contract, i.e. that they have been designated to be given to the buyer in fulfillment of the contract.

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