verb (used with object), in·den·tured, in·den·tur·ing.

to bind by indenture, as an apprentice.
Archaic. to make a depression in; wrinkle; furrow.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for indentured

bound, apprenticed, contracted, enslaved, articled

Examples from the Web for indentured

Contemporary Examples of indentured

Historical Examples of indentured

  • He was indentured to him, as we have seen, so that it was difficult for him to get away.

    The Printer Boy.

    William M. Thayer

  • The young fellows are indentured by the head office and sent to school, so to speak.

    The Huntress

    Hulbert Footner

  • But he had at this place an overseer and some indentured laborers.

  • He felt all the more sorry for the girl because misfortune had, in a sense, indentured her to them.

    Ethan Frome

    Edith Wharton

  • He received a thorough training in the trade to which he was indentured.

    Boy Labour and Apprenticeship

    Reginald Arthur Bray

British Dictionary definitions for indentured



any deed, contract, or sealed agreement between two or more parties
(formerly) a deed drawn up in duplicate, each part having correspondingly indented edges for identification and security
(often plural) a contract between an apprentice and his master
a formal or official list or certificate authenticated for use as a voucher, etc
a less common word for indentation


(intr) to enter into an agreement by indenture
(tr) to bind (an apprentice, servant, etc) by indenture
(tr) obsolete to indent or wrinkle
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 indentured

"bound by indenture," 1757, past participle adjective from indenture (v.).



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper