ACCRETION - Black's Law Dictionary

What is ACCRETION? Definition of  in Black's Law Dictionary

The act of growing to a thing; usually applied to the gradual and imperceptible accumulation of land by natural causes, as out of the sea or a river.

Civil Law

The right of heirs or legatees to unite or aggregate with their shares or portions of the estate the portion of any co-heir or legatee who refuses to accept it, fails to comply with a condition, becomes incapacitated to inherit, or dies before the testator. Anderson v. Lucas, 204 S.W. 989, 993, 140 Tenn. 336. Under a deed of trust: Miller v. Douglass, 192 Wis. 486, 213 N.W. 320, 322.


As used in a mortgage on cattle, with all increase thereof and accretions thereto, the word "accretions" is not confined to the results of natural growth, but includes the additions of parts from without, i. e., of cattle subsequently added to the herd. Stockyards Loan Co. v. Nichols, C.C.A.Okl., 243 F. 511, 513, 1 A.L.R. 547.


Addition of portions of soil, by gradual deposition through the operation of natural causes, to that already in possession of owner. St. Louis, etc., R. Co. v. Ramsey, 53 Ark. 314, 13 S.W. 931, 8 L.R.A. 559, 22 Am.St.Rep. 195; 51 L.R.A. 425, n.; Willett v. Miller, 176 Okl. 278, 55 P.2d 90, 92. Along banks of navigable or unnavigable stream. Smith v. Whitney, 105 Mont. 523, 74 P.2d 450, 453, change in  river  boundary,  Hancock  v.  Moore,  Tex.Civ. App., 137 S.W.2d 45, 51, 52. Tideland artificially filled was not an "accretion". City of Newport Beach v. Fager, 39 Cal.App.2d 23, 102 P.2d 438, 442.

Accretion of land is of two kinds : By alluvion, 1. e., by the washing up of sand or soil, so as to form firm ground; or by dereliction, as when the sea shrinks below the usual watermark. The term "alluvion" is applied to deposit itself, while "accretion" denotes the act. However, the terms are frequently used synonymously. Katz v. Patterson, 135 Or. 449, 296 P. 54, 55. In determining whether change in course of river is by "accretion" or "avulsion," test is not whether witnesses might see from time to time that progress has been made, but whether witnesses could perceive change while it was going on. Goins v. Merryman, 183 Okl. 155, 80 P.2d 268, 270. Land uncovered by gradual subsidence of water is not an "accretion" but a "reliction." Independent Stock Farm v. Stevens, 128 Neb. 619, 259 N.W. 647, 648.

Trust Property

Receipts other than those ordinarily considered as income; and ordinary cash dividends, the sole income, were not accretions. Doty v. C. I. R., C.C. A.1, 148 F.2d 503, 505.

See Accrue; Avulsion; Alluvion; Reliction.


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