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indenture

[in-den-cher]
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noun
  1. a deed or agreement executed in two or more copies with edges correspondingly indented as a means of identification.
  2. any deed, written contract, or sealed agreement.
  3. a contract by which a person, as an apprentice, is bound to service.
  4. any official or formal list, certificate, etc., authenticated for use as a voucher or the like.
  5. the formal agreement between a group of bondholders and the debtor as to the terms of the debt.
  6. indentation.
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verb (used with object), in·den·tured, in·den·tur·ing.
  1. to bind by indenture, as an apprentice.
  2. Archaic. to make a depression in; wrinkle; furrow.
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Origin of indenture

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word indentūra. See indent1, -ure
Related formsin·den·ture·ship, nounun·in·den·tured, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

compact, deed, contract, arrangement

Examples from the Web for indenture

Historical Examples

  • But the passage which, for me, is most precious is that Apprentice's "Indenture."

    Visions and Revisions

    John Cowper Powys

  • It is the same in civil law with an indenture at the common law.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • I have broken my indenture, and I think of running the country.'

    The Proverbs of Scotland

    Alexander Hislop

  • A secret renewal of the indenture was executed simultaneously.

    Benjamin Franklin

    John Torrey Morse, Jr.

  • And in our own country every white apprentice is, in his indenture, called a servant.


British Dictionary definitions for indenture

indenture

noun
  1. any deed, contract, or sealed agreement between two or more parties
  2. (formerly) a deed drawn up in duplicate, each part having correspondingly indented edges for identification and security
  3. (often plural) a contract between an apprentice and his master
  4. a formal or official list or certificate authenticated for use as a voucher, etc
  5. a less common word for indentation
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verb
  1. (intr) to enter into an agreement by indenture
  2. (tr) to bind (an apprentice, servant, etc) by indenture
  3. (tr) obsolete to indent or wrinkle
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Derived Formsindentureship, noun
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

Word Origin and History for indenture

n.

"contract for services," late 14c., from Anglo-French endenture, Old French endenteure "indentation," from endenter (see indent). Such contracts (especially between master craftsmen and apprentices) were written in full identical versions on a sheet of parchment, which was then cut apart in a zigzag, or "notched" line. Each party took one, and the genuineness of a document of indenture could be proved by juxtaposition with its counterpart. As a verb, 1650s, from the noun.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper