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    #1

    How to use the word "estoppel"

    In class we've just learned the word "estoppel" but we're having trouble using is correctly. Today a friend was telling a story of how he told his roommates that he is a great chef, and they asked him to bake a cake for a special occassion. Unfortunately, he was tired & forgot the eggs, so the cake was a disaster. He relayed that he was an estoppel b/c he represented himself to be an excellent cook, and this was not the case that day. He contends he held himself out to be something, but it wasn't true that day, so he is a cake maker by estoppel.

    My other friend says "estoppel" is a noun, therefore cannot be used that way at all.

    I want to reach a compromise, and seeing the many different types/kinds of estoppel in the dictionary, I thought that maybe you could say: "A lack of sleep served as an estoppel in my plans to make a cake for my roommates."

    At this point we're all in disagreement, so we thought we'd come to the experts!

  1. #2

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    First of all, I have to admit that I'd never heard of the word estoppel until now. I checked the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), and it says:

    1 An obstruction (to a watercourse) whether natural or artificial.


    2. Law. An impediment or bar to a right of action arising from a man's own act, or where he is forbidden by law to speak against his own deed.

    b. gen. Stoppage, prohibition. Obs.


    Based on that, I'm not entirely sure you can use it the way you suggested. I found only 2 cases in the British National Corpus, and both were related to law.

  2. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    As far as I am aware 'estoppel' is a legal term. It prevents someone from changing terms or conditions that they have previously agreed with someone. In other words they cannot go back on their word. I might be wrong here, so possibly someone with more knowledge of the legal process will be able to help.

    In your friends case, I don't think it can be applied to a cake making situation. Perhaps if he had promised to supply cakes for a fixed sum and then when he had collected the money refused to hand them over and asked for more money he could be subjected to an 'estoppel', but I am unsure.

    In any case it is not a word you will come across in ordinary conversation ever!

    So unless you are studying law, I'd just concentrate on the cake making

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie98 View Post
    In class we've just learned the word "estoppel" but we're having trouble using is correctly. Today a friend was telling a story of how he told his roommates that he is a great chef, and they asked him to bake a cake for a special occassion. Unfortunately, he was tired & forgot the eggs, so the cake was a disaster. He relayed that he was an estoppel b/c he represented himself to be an excellent cook, and this was not the case that day. He contends he held himself out to be something, but it wasn't true that day, so he is a cake maker by estoppel.

    My other friend says "estoppel" is a noun, therefore cannot be used that way at all.

    I want to reach a compromise, and seeing the many different types/kinds of estoppel in the dictionary, I thought that maybe you could say: "A lack of sleep served as an estoppel in my plans to make a cake for my roommates."

    At this point we're all in disagreement, so we thought we'd come to the experts!
    None of those uses is correct. The word "estop" is a transitive verb meaning ban, prohibit, preclude. It came from a Latin word meaning "plug" (hence the waterway obstruction definition). When something estops something, it prohibits it. If something is prohibited, it is estopped. The noun form "estoppel" means a ban or a prohibition.

    This word was adopted by English common law as a prohibition of an action by a person based on that person's own prior words or actions.

    If I lend you money and then, at some later time, write you a letter that states the debt has been repaid, I cannot come back to you in the future and ask for repayment. My letter is an estoppel against that request for repayment. If I testify in front of a Grand Jury, I can't change my testimony in a future court case (without admitting to perjury). My prior testimony has estopped my current testimony. Many land claims have been estopped by a prior signed deed.

    Unless you are in law school, I have no idea why a teacher would even bother bringing this up.

  4. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    "If you shake a bottle of Coca-Cola vigorously, estoppel pop right off."

  5. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"


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    #7

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    "If you shake a bottle of Coca-Cola vigorously, estoppel pop right off."
    it will indeed! And for champagnes, thercorkel do the same!


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    #8

    Smile Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    Again, thank you all so very much for your insights and expertise! (And the humor)

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: How to use the word "estoppel"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie98 View Post
    Again, thank you all so very much for your insights and expertise! (And the humor)
    You're welcome.

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