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Source: Encyclopedia of Banking & Finance (9h Edition) by Charles J Woelfel
(We recommend this as work of authority.)

The term has two meanings:  (1) a claim or lien on real or personal property, such as a mortgage, which diminishes the owner's equity in the property; (2) a reservation of part of a governmental appropriation that is recognized at the time a commitment is made.  The purpose is to ensure that a period's expenditures do not exceed appropriations.

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