The word "transfer" is derived from two (what else?) Latin words - trans and ferre. The former meaning "across" and the latter meaning "to carry". In a non-technical sense, a "transfer" can involve a simple change in possession. For example, one might say that he transferred the contents of one package into another.
The California Civil Code, however, assigns a very specific meaning to "transfer":
"Transfer is an act of the parties, or of the law, by which the title to property is conveyed from one living person to another."
Cal. Civ. Code § 1039. Under this definition, therefore, the act of merely changing physical location or possession is not a "transfer". A "transfer" must involve a conveyance of title. For reasons that I can't explain, the statute is further limited to living persons.
The California Civil Code also defines "grant" as a specific subset of transfers:
"A transfer in writing is called a grant, or conveyance, or bill of sale."
Cal. Civ. Code § 1053.
I have always been intrigued by the fact that the Latin word ferre is highly irregular. Thus, the first person, singular, present, indicative, active form (I carry) is fero while the first person, singular, perfect, indicative, active form (I carried) is entirely different - tuli. The same is true in ancient Greek in which the first person singular, present, indicative, active form (I carry) is φέρω and the first person, singular, perfect, indicative, active form (I carried) - ἐνήνοχα. This irregularity has even carried over into English. Thus, you can find the past participle form of the Latin word meaning "to carry" (latus) in several English words, such as "translate" and "oblate".