This is a French word signifying thing. In law, it is applied to personal property; as choses in possession are such personal things of which one has possession; choses in action are such as the owner has not the possession, but merely a right of action for their possession. Choses in actions are rights to receive or recover a debt, or money, or damages for breach of contract or for a tort connected with contract, but which cannot be enforced without action and therefore termed choses, or things in action.
It is one of the qualities of a chose in action that, at common law, it is not assignable. But bills of exchange and promissory notes, though choses in action, may be assigned by indorsement when payable to order or by delivery when payable to bearer.
Bonds are assignable in Pennsylvania and some other states by virtue of statutory provisions. In equity, however, all choses in action are assignable and the assignee has an equitable right to enforce the fulfilment of the obligation in the name of the assignor.
Rights arising ex delicto are not assignable either at law or in equity.