What is Contract?

Legal Definition
A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. Contract is a branch of the law of obligations in jurisdictions of the civil law tradition. Contract law concerns the rights and duties that arise from agreements.

A contract arises when the parties agree that there is an agreement. Formation of a contract generally requires an offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual intent to be bound. Each party to a contract must have capacity to enter the agreement. Minors, intoxicated persons, and those under a mental affliction may have insufficient capacity to enter a contract. Some types of contracts may require formalities, such as a memorialization in writing.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An agreement creating obligations enforceable by law. The basic elements of a contract are mutual assent, consideration, capacity, and legality. In some states, the element of consideration can be satisfied by a valid substitute. Possible remedies for breach of contract include general damages, consequential damages, reliance damages, and specific performance.
Overview
Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. The law provides remedies if a promise is breached or recognizes the performance of a promise as a duty. Contracts arise when a duty does or may come into existence, because of a promise made by one of the parties. To be legally binding as a contract, a promise must be exchanged for adequate consideration. Adequate consideration is a benefit or detriment which a party receives which reasonably and fairly induces them to make the promise/contract. For example, promises that are purely gifts are not considered enforceable because the personal satisfaction the grantor of the promise may receive from the act of giving is normally not considered adequate consideration. Certain promises that are not considered contracts may, in limited circumstances, be enforced if one party has relied to his detriment on the assurances of the other party.

Contracts are mainly governed by state statutory and common (judge-made) law and private law. Private law principally includes the terms of the agreement between the parties who are exchanging promises. This private law may override many of the rules otherwise established by state law. Statutory law may require some contracts be put in writing and executed with particular formalities. Otherwise, the parties may enter into a binding agreement without signing a formal written document. Most of the principles of the common law of contracts are outlined in the Restatement of the Law Second, Contracts, published by the American Law Institute. The Uniform Commercial Code, whose original articles have been adopted in nearly every state, represents a body of statutory law that governs important categories of contracts. The main articles that deal with the law of contracts are Article 1 (General Provisions) and Article 2 (Sales). Sections of Article 9 (Secured Transactions) govern contracts assigning the rights to payment in security interest agreements. Contracts related to particular activities or business sectors may be highly regulated by state and/or federal law. See Law Relating To Other Topics Dealing with Particular Activities or Business Sectors.

In 1988, the United States joined the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods which now governs contracts within its scope.
Legal Definition
This term, in its more extensive sense, includes every description of agreement, or obligation, whereby one party becomes bound to another to pay a sum of money, or to do or omit to do a certain act; or, a contract is an act which contains a perfect obligation. In its more confined sense, it is an agreement between two or more persons, concerning something to be, done, whereby both parties are hound to each other, *or one is bound to the other. 1 Pow. Contr. 6; Civ. Code of Lo. art. 1754; Code Civ. 1101; Poth. Oblig. pt. i. c. 1, S. 1, 1; Blackstone, (2 Comm. 442,) defines it to be an agreement, upon a sufficient consideration, to do or not to do a particular thing. A contract has also been defined to be a compact between two or more persons. 6 Cranch, R. 136.

2. Contracts are divided into express or implied. An express contract is one where the terms of the agreement are openly uttered and avowed at the time of making, as to pay a stated price for certain goods. 2 BI . Com. 443.

3. Express contracts are of three sorts 1. BI parol, or in writing, as contradistinguished from specialties. 2. By specialty or under seal. 3. Of record.

4. - l. A parol contract is defined to be a bargain or voluntary agreement made, either orally or in writing not under, seal, upon a good consideration, between two or more persons capable of contracting, to, do a lawful act, or to omit to do something, the performance whereof is not enjoined by law. 1 Com. Contr. 2 Chit. Contr. 2.

5. From this definition it appears, that to constitute a sufficient parol agreement, there must be, 1st. The reciprocal or mutual assent of two or more persons competent to contract. Every agreement ought to be so certain and complete, that each party may have an action upon it; and the agreement would be incomplete if either party withheld his assent to any of its terms. Peake's R. 227; 3 T. R. 653; 1 B. & A. 681 1 Pick. R. 278. The agreement must, in general, be obligatory on both parties, or it binds neither. To this rule there are, however, some exceptions, as in the case of an infant's contract. He may always sue, though he cannot be sued, on his contract. Stra. 937. See other instances; 6 East, 307; 3 Taunt. 169; 5 Taunt. 788; 3 B. & C. 232.

6. - 2d. There must be a good and valid consideration, motive or inducement to make the promise, upon which a party is charged, for this is of the very essence of a contract under seal, and must exist, although the contract be reduced to writing. 7 T. R. 350, note (a); 2 Bl. Coin. 444. See this Dict. Consideration; Fonb. Tr. Eq. 335, n. (a) Chit. Bills. 68.

7. - 3d. There must be a thing to be done, wbicb is not forbidden; or a thing to be omitted, the performance of which is not enjoined by law. A fraudulent or immoral contract, or one contrary to public policy is void Chit. Contr. 215, 217, 222: and it is also void if contrary to a statute. Id. 228 to 250; 1 Binn. 118; 4 Dall. 298 4 Yeates, 24, 84; 6 Binn. 321; 4 Serg & Rawle, 159; 4 Dall. 269; 1 Binn. 110 2 Browne's R. 48. As to contracts which are void for want of a compliance with the statutes of frauds, see Satute of Frauds.

8. - 2. The second kind of express contracts are specialties, or those which are made under seal, as deeds, bonds, and the like; they are not merely written, but delivered over by the party bound. The solemnity and deliberation with whicb, on account of the ceremonies to be observed, a deed or bond is presumed to be entered into, attach to it an importance and character which do not belong to a simple contract. In the case of a specially, no consideration is necessary to give it validity, even in a court of equity. Plowd. 308; 7 T. R. 477; 4 B. & A. 652; 3 T. R. 438; 3 Bingh. 111, 112; 1 Fonb. Eq, 342, note When, a contract by specialty has been changed by a parol agreement, the whole of it becomes a parol contract. 2 Watts, 451; 9 Pick. 298; see 13 Wend. 71.

9. - 3. The highest kind of express contracts are those of record, such as judgments, recognizances of bail, and in England, statutes merchant and staple, and other securities of the same nature, cutered into with the intervention of some public authority. 2 Bl. Com. 465 . See Authentic Facts.

10. Implied contracts are such as reason and justice dictates, and which, therefore, the law presumes every man undertakes to perform; as if a man employs another to do any business for him, or perform any work, the law implies that the former contracted or undertook to pay the latter as much as his labor is worth; see Quantum merwit; or if one takes up goods from a tradesman, without any agreement of price, the law concludes that he contracts to pay their value. 2 Bl. Com. 443. See Quantum valebant; Assumpsit. Com. Dig. Action upon the case upon assumpsit, A 1; Id. Agreement.

11. By the laws of Louisiana, when considered as to the obligation of the parties, contracts are either unilateral or reciprocal. When the party to whom the engagement is made, makes no express agreement on his part, the contract is called unilateral, even in cases where the law attaches certain obligations to his acceptance. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 1758. A loan for use, and a loan of money, are of this kind. Poth. Ob. P. 1, c. 1, s. 1, art. 2. A reciprocal contract is where the parties expressly enter into mutual engagements such as sale, hire, and the like. Id.

12. Contracts, considered in relation to their substance, are either commutative or independent, principal or accessory.

13. Commutative contracts, are those in which what is done, given or promised by one party, is considered as equivalent to, or in consideration of what is done, given or promised by the other. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 17GI.

14. Independent contracts are those in which the mutual acts or proniises have no relation to each other, either as ecluivalents or as considerations. Id. art. 1762.

15. A principal contract is one entered into by both parties, on their accounts, or in the several qualities they assume.

16. An accessory contract is made for assuring the performance of a prior contract, either by the same parties or by others, such as suretyship, mortgage, and pledges. Id. art. 1764. Poth. Obl. p. 1, c. 1, s. 1, art. 2, n. 14.

17. Contracts, considered inrelation to the motive for. making them, are either gratuitous or onerous. To be gratuitous, the object of a contract must be to benefit the person with whom it is made, without any profit or advantage, received or promised, as a consideration for it. It is not, however, the less gratuitous, if it proceed either from gratitude for a benefit before received, or from the hope of receiving one hereafter, although such benefits be of a pecuniary nature. Id. art. 1766. Any thing given or promised, as a consideration for the engagement or gift; any service, interest, or condition, imposed on what is given or promised, although unequal to it in value, makes a contract onerous in its nature. Id. art. 1767.

18. Considered in relation to their effects, contracts are either certain or hazardous. A contract is certain, when the thing to be done is supposed to depend on the will of the party, or when, in the usual course of events, it must happen in the manner stipulated. It is hazardous, when the performan ce.of that which is one of its objects, depends on an uncertain event. Id. art. 1769. 19. Pothier, in his excellent treatise on Obligations, p. 1, c. 1, s. 1, art. 2, divides contracts under the five following heads:

20.- 1. Into reciprocal and unilateral.

21. - 2. Into consensual, or those which are formed by the mere consent of the parties, such as sale, hiring and mandate; and those in which it is necessary there should be something more than mere consent, such as loan of money, deposite or pledge, which from their nature require a delivery of the thing, (rei); whence they are called real contracts. See Real Contracts.

22.-3. Into-first, contracts of mutual interest, which are such as are entered into for the reciprocal interest and utility of each of the parties, as sales exchange, partnership, and the like.

23.-2d. Contracts of beneficence, which are those by which only one of the contracting parties is benefited, as loans, deposit and mandate. 3d. Mixed contracts, which are those by which one of the parties confers a benefit on the other, receiving something of inferior value in return, such as a donation subject to a charge,

24. - 4. Into principal and accessory.

25. - 5. Into those which are subjected by the civil law to certain rules and forms, and those which ate regulated by mere natural justice. See, generally, as to contracts, Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.; Chitty on Contracts; Comyn on Contracts; Newland on Contracts; Com. Dig. titles Abatement, E 12, F 8; Admiralty, E 10, 11; Action upon the Case upon Assumpsit; Agreement; Bargain and Sale; Baron and Feme, Q; Condition; Dett, A 8, 9; Enfant, B 5; Idiot, D 1 Merchant, E 1; Pleader, 2 W, 11, 43; Trade D 3; War, B 2; Bac. Abr. tit. Agreement; Id. Assumpsit; Condition; Obligation; Vin. Abr. Condition; Contracts and Agreements; Covenants; Vendor, Vendee; Supp. to Ves. jr. vol. 2, p. 260, 295, 376, 441; Yelv. 47; 4 Ves. jr., 497, 671; Archb. Civ. Pl. 22; Code Civ. L. 3, tit. 3 to 18; Pothier's Tr. of Obligations Sugden on Vendors and Purchasers; Story's excellent treatise on Bailments; Jones on Bailments; Toullier, Droit Civil Francais, tomes 6 et 7; Ham. Parties to Actions, Ch. 1; Chit. Pr. Index, h. t.; and the articles Agreement; Apportionment; Appropriation; Assent; Assignment; Assumpsit; Attestation; Bailment; Bargain and sale; Bidder; Bilateral contract; Bill of Exchange; Buyer; Commodate; Condition; Consensual contract; Conjunctive; Consummation; Construction; Contracto of benevolence; Covenant; Cumulative contracts; Debt; Deed; Delegation. Delivery; Discharge Of a contract; Disjunctive; Equity of a redemption; Exchange; Guaranty; Impairing the obligation of contracts; Insurance; Interested contracts; Item; Misrepresentation; Mortgage; Mixed contract; Negociorum gestor; Novation; Obligation; Pactum constitutae, pecuniae; Partners; Partnership; Pledge; Promise; Purchaser; Quasi contract; Representatian; Sale; Seller; Settlement; Simple contract; Synallagmatic contract; Subrogation; Title; Unilateral contract.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An agreement, upon sufficient consideration, to do or not to do a particular thing. 2 Bl. Comm. 442; 2 Kent, Comm. 449. Justice v. Lang, 42 N. Y. 496, 1 Am. Rep. 576; Edwards v. Kearzey, 96 U. S. 599, 24 L Ed. 793; Canterberry v. Mlller, 76 III. 355.

A covenant or agreement between two or more persons, with a lawful consideration or cause. Jacob. A deliberate engagement between competent parties, upon a legal consideration, to do, or abstain from doing, some act. Wharton.

A contract or agreement is either where a promise is made on one side and assented to on the other; or where two or more persons enter into engagement with each other by a promise on either side. 2 Steph. Comm. 54.

A contract is an agreement by which one person obligates himself to another to give, to do, or permit, or not to do, something expressed or implied by such agreement. Civ. Code La. art 1761; Fisk v.Police Jury, 34 La. Ann. 45.

A contract is an agreement to do or not to do a certain thing. Civ. Co.de Cal. § 1549.

A contract is an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of some specified thing. Code Ga. 1882, § 2714.

A contract is an agreement between two or more persons to do or not to do a particular thing; and the obligation of a contract is found in the terms in which the contract is expressed, and is the duty thus assumed by the contracting parties respectively to perform the stipulations of such contract. When that duty is recognized and enforced by the municipal law, it is one of perfect, and when not so recognized and enforced, of imperfect, obligation. Barlow v. Greogory, 31 Conn. 265.

The writing which contains the agreement of parties, with the terms and conditions, and which serves as a proof of the obligation. Classification. Contracts may be classified on several different methods, according to the element in them which is brought into prominence. The usual classifications are as follows: Record, specialty, simple. Contracts of record are such as are declared and adjudicated by courts of competent jurisdiction, or entered on their records, including judgments, recognizances, and statutes staple. Hardeman v. Downer, 39 Ga. 425.

These are not properly speaking contracts at ail, though they may be enforced by action like contracts. Specialties, or special contracts, are contracts under seal, such as deeds and bonds. Ludwig v. Bungart, 26 Misc. Rep. 247, .56 N. Y. Supp. 51.

All others are included in the description "simple" contracts; that is, a simple contract is one that is not a contract of record and not under seal; it may be either written or oral, in either case it is called a "parol" contract, the distinguishing feature being the lack of a seal. Webster v. Fleming, 178 111. '140, 52 N. E. 975 ; Perrine v. Cheeseman, 11 N. J. Law, 177, 19 Am. Dec. 388; Corcoran v. Railroad Co., 20 Misc. Rep. 197, 45 N. Y. Supp. 861; Justice v. Lang, 42 N. Y. 493, 1 Am. Rep, 576.

Express and implied. An express contract is an actual agreement of the parties, the terms of which are openly uttered or declared at the time of making it, being stated in distinct and explicit language, either orally or in writing. 2 Bl. Comm. 443 ; 2 Kent, Comm. 450; Linn v. Ross, 10 Ohio, 414, 36 Am. Dec. 95; Thompson v. Woodruff, 7 Co.ld. (Tenn.) 401; GrevaJI v. Whiteman, 32 Misc. Rep. 279, 65 N. Y. Supp. 974.

An implied contract is one not created or evidenced by the explicit agreement of the parties, but inferred by the law, as a matter of reason and justice from their acts or conduct, the circumstances surrounding the transaction making it a reasonable, or even a necessary, assumption that a contract existed between them by tacit understanding. Miller's Appeal, 100 Pa. 568, 45 Am. Rep. 394; Wickham v. Weil (Co.m. Pit) 17 N. Y. Supp. 518; Hinkle v. Sage, 67 Ohio St. 256, 65 N. El 999; Power Co. v. Montgomery, 114 Ala. 433, 2l South. 960; Railway Co., v. Gaffney, 65 Ohio St. 104, 61 N. E. 152; Jennings v. Bank, 79 Cal. 323, 21 Pac. 852, 5 In It. A. 233, 12 Am. St. Rep. 145 ; Deane v. Hodge, 35 Minn. 148, 27 N. W. 917, 59 Am. Rep. 321; Bixby v. Moor. 51 N. H. 403.

Implied contracts are sometimes subdivided into those "implied in fact" and those "implied in law," the former being covered by the definition just given, while the latter are obligations imposed upon a person by the law, not in pursuance of his intention and agreement, either expressed or implied, but even against his will and design, because the circumstances between the parties are such as to render it just that the one should have a right, and the other a corresponding liability, similar to those which would arise from a contract between them. This kind of obligation therefore rests on the principle that whatsoever it is certain a man ought to do that the law will suppose him to have promised to do. And hence it is said that, while the liability of a party to an express contract arises directly from the contract, it is just the reverse in the case of a contract "implied in law," the contract there being implied or arising from the liability. Musgrove v. Jackson, 59 Miss. 392; Bliss v. Hoyt. 70 Vt. 534, 41 Atl. 1026; Linn v. Ross, 10 Ohio, 414, 36 Am. Dec. 95 ; People v. Speir, 77 N. Y. 150; O'Brien v. Young, 95 N. Y. 432, 47 Am. Rep. 64.

But obligations of this kind are not properly contracts at all, and should not be so denominated. There can be no true contract without a mutual and concurrent intention of the parties. Such obligations are more properly described as "quasi contracts." Willard v. Doran, 48 Hun, 402, 1 N. Y. Supp. 588; People v. Speir, 77 N. Y. 150; Woods v. Ayres, 39 Mich. 350, 33 Am. Rep. 396; Bliss v. Hoyt, 70 Vt. 534, 41 Atl. 1026; Keener, Quasi Contr. 5.

Executed and executory. Contracts are niso distinguished into executed and executory; executed, where nothing remains to be done by either party, and where the transaction is completed at the moment that the arrangement is made, as where an article is sold and delivered, and payment therefor is made on the spot; ' executory, where some future act is to be done, as where an agreement is made to build a house in six months, or to do an act on or before some future day, or to lend money upon a certain interest, payable at a future time. Farrington v. Tennessee, 95 U. S. 683. 24 L. Ed. 558; Fox v. Kitton. 19 111. 532; Watkins v. Nugen, 118 Ga. 372, 45 S. E. 262; Kynoch v. Ives, 14 Fed. Cas. 890; Watson v. Coast, 35 W. Va. 463, 14 S. E. 249; Keokuk v. Electric Co., 90 Iowa, 67, 57 N. W. 689; Hatch v. Standard Oil Co., 100 U. S. 130, 25 In Ed. 554; Foley v. Feirath, 98 Ala. 176, 13 South. 485, 39 Am. St. Rep. 39.

But executed contracts are not properly contracts at all, except reminiscently. The term denotes rights in property which have been acquired by means of contract; but the parties are no longer bound by a contractual tie. Mettel v. Gales, 12 S. D. 632, 82 N. W. 181.

Entire and severable. An entire contract ls one the consideration of which la entire on bath sides. The entire fulfillment of the promise by either is a condition precedent to the fulfillment of any part of the promise by the other. Whenever, therefore, there is a contract to pay the gross sum for a certain and definite consideration, the contract is entire. A severable contract is one the consideration of which is, by its terms, susceptible of apportionment on either side, so as to correspond to the unascertained consideration on the other side, as a contract to pay a person the worth of his services so long as he will do certain work; or to give a certain price for every bushel of so much corn as corresponds to a sample. Potter v. Potter, 43 Or. 149, 72 Pac. 702; Telephone Co. v. Root (Pat) 4 Atl. 829; Horseman v. Horseman, 43 Or. 83, 72 Pac. 698; Norrington v. Wright (C. C.) 5 Fed. 771; Dow ley v. Schiffer (Com. PI.) 13 N. Y. Supp. 552; Osgood v. Bauder, 75 Iowa, 550, 39 N. W. 887, 1 L. R. A. 655.

Where a contract consists of many paris, which may be considered as parts of one whole, the contract is entire. When the parts may be considered as so many distinct contracts, entered into at one time, ana expressed in the same Instrument, but not thereby made one contract, the contract is a separable contract. But, if the consideration of the contract is single and entire, the contract must be held to be entire, although the subject of the contract may consist of several distinct and wholly independent items. 2 Pars. Cont. 517. Parol.

All contracts which are not contracts of record and not specialties are parol contracts. It is erroneous to contrast "parol" with "written." Though a contract may be wholly in writing, it is still a parol contract if it is not under seal. Yarborough v. West, 10 Ga. 473 ; Jones v. Holliday, 11 Tex. 415, 62 Am. Dec. 487; Ludwig v. Bungart, 26 Misc. Rep. 247, 56 N. Y. Supp. 51.

Joint and several. A joint contract is one made by two or more promisors, who are jointly bound to fulfill its obligations, or made to two or more promisees who are j'ointly entitled to require performance of the same. A contract may be "several" as to any one of several promisors or promisees, if he has a legal right (either from the terms of the agreement or the nature of the undertaking) to enforce his individual interest separately from the other parties. Rainey v. Smizer, 28 Mo. 310 ; Bartlett v. Robbins, 5 Mete. (Mass.) 186.

Principal and accessory. A principal contract is one which stands by itself, justifies its own existence, and is not subordinate or auxiliary to any other. Accessory contracts are those made for assuring the performance of a prior contract, either by the same parties or by others, such as suretyship, mortgage, and pledges. Civ. Code La. art. 1764. Unilateral and bilateral. A unilateral contract is one in which one party makes an express engagement or undertakes a perform-ance, without receiving in return any express engagement or promise of performance from the other. Bilateral (or reciprocal) contracts are those by which the parties expressly enter into mutual engagements, such as sale or hire. Civ. Code La. art. 1758; Poth. Obi. 1, 1, 1, 2; Montpelier Seminary v. Smith, 69 Vt. 382, 38 Ail. 66; Laclede Const. Co., v. Tudor Ironworks, 169 Mo. 137, 69 S. W. 388.

Consensual and real. Consensual contracts are such as are founded upon and completed by the mere agreement of the contracting parties, without any external formality or symbolic act to fir the obligation. Real contracts are those in which it is necessary that there should be something more than mere consent, such as a loan of money, deposit or pledge, which, from their nature, require a delivery of the thing, (res.) Inst. 3, 14, 2; Id. 3, 15; Halifax, Civil Law, b. 2, c. 15, No. 1.

In the common law a contract respecting real property (such as a lease of land for years) is called a "real" contract. 3 Coke, 22a.

Certain and hazardous. Certain contracts are those in which the thing to be done is supposed to depend on the will of the party, or when, in the usuni course of events, it must happen in the manner stipulated. Hazardous contracts are those in which the performance of that which is one of its objects depends on an uncertain event. Civ. Code La. 1769.

Commutative and independent. Commutative contracts are those in which what is done, given, or promised by one party is considered as an equivalent to or in consideration of what is done, given, or promised by the other. Civ. Code La. 1761; Ridings v. Johnson, 128 U. S. 212, 9 Sup. Ct. 72, 32 L. EH. 401.

Independent contracts are those in which the mutual acts or promises have no relation to each other, either as equivalents or as considerations. Civ. Code La. 1762. Gratuitous and onerous. Gratuitous contracts are those of which the object is the benefit of the person with whom it is made, without any profit or advantage received or promised as a consideration for it. It is not, however, the less gratuitous if it proceed either from gratitude for a benefit before received or from the hope of receiving one hereafter, although such benefit be of a pecuniary nature. Onerous contracts are those in which something is given or promised as a consideration for the engagement or gift, or some service, interest, or condition is imposed on what is given or promised, although unequal to it in value. Civ. Co.de La. 1766, 1767; Penitentiary Co. v. Nelms, 65 Ga. 5O5, 38 Am. Rep. 793.

Mutual interest, mixed, etc. Co.ntr&cts of "mutual interest" are such as are entered into for the reciprocal interest and utility of each of the parties; as sales, exchange, partnership, and the like. "Mixed" contracts are those by which one of the parties confers a benefit on the other, receiving something of inferior value in return, such as a donation subject to a charge. Contracts "of beneficence" are those by which only one of the contracting parties is benefited ; as loans, deposit and mandate. Poth. Obi. 1, 1, 1, 2. A conditional contract is an executory contract the performance of which depends upon a condition. It is not simply an executory contract, since the latter may be an absolute agreement to do or not to do something, but it is a contract whose very existence and performance depend upon a contingency. Railroad Co. v. Jones, 2 Co.ld. (Tenn.) 5841 French v. Osmer, 67 Vt. 427, 32 Atl. 254.

Constructive contracts are such as arise when the law prescribes the rights and liabilities of persons who have not in reality entered into a contract at all, but between whom circumstances make it just that one should have a right, and the other be subject to a liability, similar to the rights and liabilities in cases of express contract. Wickham v. Weil (Com. PI.) 17 N. Y. Supp. 518; Graham v. Cummings, 208 Pa. 516, 57 All. 943; Robinson v. Turrentine (C. O.) 59 Fed. 559; Hertzog v. Hertzog, 29 Pa. 465.

Personal contract. A contract relating to personal property, or one which so far involves the element of personal knowledge or skill or persona] confidence that it can be performed only by the person with whom made, and therefore is not binding on his executor. See Janin v. Browne, 59 Cal. 44.

Special contract. A contract under seal; a specialty; as distinguished from one merely oral or in writing not sealed. But in common usage this term is often used to denote an express or explicit contract, one which clearly defines and settles the reciprocal rights and obligations of the parties, as distinguished from one which must be made out, and its terms ascertained, by the inference of the law from the nature and circumstances of the transaction. Compound words and phrases.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An agreement between two or more to do or not to do a particular thing. See 11 Pet. (U. S.) 420, 9 L. Ed. 773.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary