A term borrowed from the civil law. In so far as it is naturalized in English and American law, it means a contract of mortgage or pledge in which the subject-matter is not delivered into the possession of the pledgee or pawnee; or, conversely, a conventional right existing in one person over specific property of another,which consists in the power to cause a sale of the same, though it be not in his possession, in order that a specific claim of the creditor may be satisfied out of the proceeds. The term is frequently used in our textbooks and reports, particularly upon the law of bottomry and maritime liens; thus a vessel is said to be hypothecated for the demand of one who has advanced money for supplies.In the common law, there are but few, if any, cases of hypothecation, in the strict sense of the civil law ; that is. a pledge without possession by the pledgee. The nearest approaches, perhaps, are cases of bottomry bonds and claims of materialmen, and of seamen for wages; but these are liens and privileges, rather than hypothecations.Story, Bailm.