from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A contract binding one party into the service of another for a specified term. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A document in duplicate having indented edges.
  • n. A deed or legal contract executed between two or more parties.
  • n. An official or authenticated inventory, list, or voucher.
  • n. Indentation.
  • transitive v. To bind into the service of another by indenture.
  • transitive v. Archaic To form a small depression in (a surface).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A contract which binds a person to work for another, under specified conditions, for a specified time (often as an apprentice).
  • n. A document, written as duplicates separated by indentations, specifying such a contract.
  • n. An indentation.
  • v. To bind a person under such a contract.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of indenting, or state of being indented.
  • n. A mutual agreement in writing between two or more parties, whereof each party has usually a counterpart or duplicate, sometimes with the edges indented for purpose of identification; sometimes in the pl., a short form for indentures of apprenticeship, the contract by which a youth is bound apprentice to a master.
  • n. A contract by which anyone is bound to service.
  • intransitive v. To run or wind in and out; to be cut or notched; to indent.
  • transitive v. To indent; to make hollows, notches, or wrinkles in; to furrow.
  • transitive v. To bind by indentures or written contract.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To indent; wrinkle; furrow.
  • To bind by indenture: as, to indenture an apprentice.
  • To run in a zigzag course; double in running.
  • n. The act of indenting, or the state of being indented; indentation.
  • n. In law: A deed between two or more parties with mutual covenants, having the edge indented for identification and security. See indent, n., 2.
  • n. Now, in general, a deed or sealed agreement between two or more parties.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bind by or as if by indentures, as of an apprentice or servant
  • n. a concave cut into a surface or edge (as in a coastline)
  • n. the space left between the margin and the start of an indented line
  • n. formal agreement between the issuer of bonds and the bondholders as to terms of the debt
  • n. a contract binding one party into the service of another for a specified term


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English endenture, a written agreement, from Anglo-Norman, from endenter, to indent (from the matching notches on multiple copies of the documents); see indent1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Of Anglo‐French endenture, of Old French endenteure, from endenter.


  • That ended the supply of cheap labour for sugar cane farming and landowners turned to a new practice called indenture, in which labourers were contracted for a limited period of time.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Adults who were poor but could work became servants; an indenture was their ticket to relief.

    A History of American Law

  • In the securities business, an indenture is a legal contract between a borrower and investors, specifying the terms of a bond offering.

    Essential Guide to Business Style and Usage

  • The so-called indenture, i.e., legalized bondage of native men and women and children to white colonists.

    My life and work,

  • Trivia: the name 'indenture' came from the practice of having 2 copies of the contract, one for each party, which were cut apart in a jagged tooth dente pattern, so they could be matched up at the end of the term and compared.

    HH Com 599

  • After that, an inventory of all the goods, chattels, and plate was to be taken, and an "indenture" or counterpart of the same was to be left with the superior, dating from 1 March, 1536, because from that date all had passed into the possession of the king.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • This can only refer to a wooden "indenture" of which each party preserved a copy, each fitting 'in, "dog's teeth like," as the Chinese still say, closely to the other.

    Ancient China Simplified

  • The law respecting fugitive servants was intended to destroy the hopes of runaways in the entertainment they so frequently obtained at the hands of benevolent Quakers and other enemies of "indenture" and slavery.

    History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens

  • On this occasion I am inclined to think the indenture will be a final one. "

    The Crack of Doom

  • Portland will always step up with the general fund, even if they don't have to under the terms of the indenture, because a default would cost the city way more in increased future debt service costs than what the city would save if it allowed a few tens of millions of bonds to go into default.

    Blazer fans will pay for soccer stadium (Jack Bog's Blog)


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