An escrow is:
a contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money or documents for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement dependent on conditions agreed to by the transacting parties, or
an account established by a broker for holding funds on behalf of the broker’s principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction; or,
a trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums.
The word derives from the Old French word escroue, meaning a scrap of paper or a scroll of parchment; this indicated the deed that a third party held until a transaction was completed.
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