[ verb in-dent; noun in-dent, in-dent ]
See synonyms for: indentindented on

verb (used with object)
  1. to form deep recesses in: The sea indents the coast.

  2. to set in or back from the margin, as the first line of a paragraph.

  1. to sever (a document drawn up in duplicate) along an irregular line as a means of identification.

  2. to cut or tear the edge of (copies of a document) in an irregular way.

  3. to make toothlike notches in; notch.

  4. to indenture, as an apprentice.

  5. British. to draw an order upon.

  6. Chiefly British. to order, as commodities.

verb (used without object)
  1. to form a recess.

  2. Chiefly British. to make out an order or requisition in duplicate.

  1. Obsolete.

    • to draw upon a person or thing for something.

    • to enter into an agreement by indenture; make a compact.

  1. a toothlike notch or deep recess;indentation.

  1. an indenture.

  2. American History. a certificate issued by a state or the federal government at the close of the Revolutionary War for the principal or interest due on the public debt.

  3. British. a requisition for stores.

Origin of indent

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English; back formation from indented “having toothlike notches,” past participle of endenten, indenten “to notch, dent, indent,” from Middle French verb endenter and Medieval Latin indentātus, past participle of indentāre “to notch,” equivalent to Latin in- “in” + dent- stem of dens “tooth” + -āre infinitive ending;see origin at in-2, dentate, -ed2

Other words from indent

  • in·dent·er, in·den·tor, noun

Words Nearby indent

Other definitions for indent (2 of 2)

[ verb in-dent; noun in-dent, in-dent ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to dent; press in so as to form a dent: to indent a pattern on metal.

  2. to make or form a dent in: The wooden stairs had been indented by horses' hooves.

  1. a dent.

Origin of indent

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English; see origin at in-2, dent1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use indent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for indent (1 of 2)


verb(ɪnˈdɛnt) (mainly tr)
  1. to place (written or printed matter, etc) in from the margin, as at the beginning of a paragraph

  2. to cut or tear (a document, esp a contract or deed in duplicate) so that the irregular lines may be matched to confirm its authenticity

  1. mainly British (in foreign trade) to place an order for (foreign goods), usually through an agent

  2. (when intr, foll by for, on, or upon) mainly British to make an order on (a source or supply) or for (something)

  3. to notch (an edge, border, etc); make jagged

  4. to bind (an apprentice, etc) by indenture

  1. mainly British (in foreign trade) an order for foreign merchandise, esp one placed with an agent

  2. mainly British an official order for goods

  1. (in the late 18th-century US) a certificate issued by federal and state governments for the principal or interest due on the public debt

  2. another word for indenture

  3. another word for indentation (def. 4)

Origin of indent

C14: from Old French endenter, from en- 1 + dent tooth, from Latin dēns

Derived forms of indent

  • indenter or indentor, noun

British Dictionary definitions for indent (2 of 2)


  1. (tr) to make a dent or depression in

  1. a dent or depression

Origin of indent

C15: from in- ² + dent 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012