AskDefine | Define indenture

Dictionary Definition



1 a concave cut into a surface or edge (as in a coastline) [syn: indentation]
2 formal agreement between the issuer of bonds and the bondholders as to terms of the debt
3 a contract binding one party into the service of another for a specified term
4 the space left between the margin and the start of an indented line [syn: indentation, indent] v : bind by or as if by indentures, as of an apprentice or servant; "an indentured servant" [syn: indent]

User Contributed Dictionary



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


  1. To bind a person under such a contract

Extensive Definition

An Indenture is a legal contract between two parties, particularly for indentured labour or a term of apprenticeship but also for certain land transactions. The term comes from the medieval English "indenture of retainer" — a legal contract written in duplicate on the same sheet, with the copies separated by cutting along a jagged (toothed, hence the term "indenture") line so that the teeth of the two parts could later be refitted to confirm authenticity. Each party to the deed would then retain a part. When the agreement was made before a court of law a tripartite indenture was made, with the third piece kept at the court. The term is used for any kind of deed executed by more than one party, in contrast to a deed poll which is made by one individual. In the case of bonds, the indenture shows the pledge, promises, representations and covenants of the issuing party.
In England an Indenture was commonly used as a form of sealed contract or agreement, especially where land and buildings were concerned. An example of such a use can be found in the National Archives, where an indenture from ca. 1401 recording the transfer of the manor of Pinley, Warwickshire, is held. Exchequer records of Henry V's French campaign of 1415 (the "Agincourt" campaign), including the indentures of all the captains of the army agreeing to provide specified numbers of men and at what cost, may still be read.

Modern usage

Bond Indenture (also trust indenture or deed of trust) is a legal document issued to lenders and describes the interest rate, maturity date, convertibility, pledge, promises, representations, covenants, and other terms of the bond offering.
indenture in French: Indenture

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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