|n.||1.||(Old Eng. Law) A personal chattel which had caused the death of a person, and for that reason was given to God, that is, forfeited to the crown, to be applied to pious uses, and distributed in alms by the high almoner. Thus, if a cart ran over a man and killed him, it was forfeited as a deodand.|
DEODAND, English law. This word is derived from Deo dandum, to be given to
God; and is used to designate the instrument, whether it be an animal or
inanimate thing, which has caused the death of a man. 3 Inst. 57; Hawk. bk.
1, c. 8.
2. The deodand is forfeited to the king, and was formerly applied to pious uses. But the presentment of a deodand by a grand jury, under their general charge from the judge of assize, is void. 1 Burr. Rep. 17.