Origins of Mortgages

What are the origins of the mortgage? Why does it mean "dead pledge"? What would be a "live pledge"? Thanks!!!

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From the Free Dictionary;
mort·gage (môrgj) n. 1. A temporary, conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for performance of an obligation or repayment of a debt. 2. A contract or deed specifying the terms of a mortgage. 3. The claim of a mortgagee upon mortgaged property. tr.v. mort·gaged, mort·gag·ing, mort·gag·es 1. To pledge or convey (property) by means of a mortgage. 2. To make subject to a claim or risk; pledge against a doubtful outcome: mortgaged their political careers by taking an unpopular stand.
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[Middle English morgage, from Old French : mort, dead (from Vulgar Latin *mortus, from Latin mortuus; see mer- in Indo-European roots) + gage, pledge (of Germanic origin).] Word History: The great jurist Sir Edward Coke, who lived from 1552 to 1634, has explained why the term mortgage comes from the Old French words mort, "dead," and gage, "pledge." It seemed to him that it had to do with the doubtfulness of whether or not the mortgagor will pay the debt. If the mortgagor does not, then the land pledged to the mortgagee as security for the debt "is taken from him for ever, and so dead to him upon condition, &c. And if he doth pay the money, then the pledge is dead as to the [mortgagee]." This etymology, as understood by 17th-century attorneys, of the Old French term morgage, which we adopted, may well be correct. The term has been in English much longer than the 17th century, being first recorded in Middle English with the form morgage and the figurative sense "pledge" in a work written before 1393.
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