Metes and Bounds Law and Legal Definition

Metes and bounds are the boundary lines of land, with their terminal points and angles. It is a way of describing land by listing the compass directions and distances of the boundaries. It is often used in connection with the Government Survey System. Metes and bounds is a system or method of describing land, real property (in contrast to personal property) or real estate.

The term "metes" refers to a boundary defined by the measurement of each straight run, specified by a distance between the terminal points, and an orientation or direction. A direction may be a simple compass bearing, or a precise orientation determined by accurate survey methods. The term "bounds" refers to a more general boundary description, such as along a certain watercourse, a stone wall, an adjoining public road way, or an existing building.

The system is often used to define larger pieces of property and political subdivisions where precise definition is not required or would be far too expensive, or previously designated boundaries can be incorporated into the description.