Definition of estoppel
estoppel (plural estoppels)
- (law) a legal principle in the law of equity that prevents a party from asserting otherwise valid legal rights against another party because conduct by the first party makes, or circumstances to which the first party has knowingly contributed, make it unjust for those rights to be asserted.
Estoppel in its broadest sense is a legal term referring to a series of legal and equitable doctrines that preclude "a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has, in contemplation of law, been established as the truth, either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers, or by his own deed, acts, or representations, either express or implied."
This term appears to come from the French estoupail (or a variation), which meant "stopper plug", referring to placing a halt on the imbalance of the situation. The term is related to the verb "estop" which comes from the Old French term estopper, meaning "stop up, impede".
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