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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Hypotheca \Hy`po*the"ca\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ? a thing subject to some obligation, fr. ? to put under, put down, pledge. See Hypothesis.] (Rom. Law) An obligation by which property of a debtor was made over to his creditor in security of his debt. [1913 Webster] Note: It differed from pledge in regard to possession of the property subject to the obligation; pledge requiring, simple hypotheca not requiring, possession of it by the creditor. The modern mortgage corresponds very closely with it. --Kent. [1913 Webster]