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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Indenture

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Meaning of Indenture

A deed between two parties drawn so that the edges are indented for the purpose of making identification of the various parts easier. See Bowen v Beck, 94 N. Y. 86. It was a practice to cut the top of the first page or sheet in a toothed or waving line. This was usually done in the case of a deed indented or indenture. where deeds were made between two parties, it was once customary to write two parts, one for each party , on the same piece of parchment, with some word or letter of the alphabet written between them, through which the parchment was afterwards cut in such manner as to leave half of the word or letter on one part and half on the other , and each party kept one part. Such an instrument in writing was called a chirograph . When the two parts were, at any subsequent period , placed together, if they exactly completed the word or letter cut through, such completion afforded a presumption of authenticity of the deed, which, joined to the evidence of the seals, completed the legal proof of the instrument. At length, only indenting at the top of the deed came into use, without cutting through any letters or words, and without in fact making two parts, but still the deed retains the formal language of a written contract , executed by both parties, and each of them is supposed, by the fiction implied in the deed, to possess one part of same.

Indenture Alternative Definition

A formal written instrument made between two or more persons in different interests, as opposed to a deed poll, which is one made by a single person, or by several having similar interests. Its name comes from a practice of indenting or scolloping such an instrument on the top or side in a waving line. This is not necessary in England at the present day, by St. 8 & 9, Vict. c. 106, § 5, but was in Lord Coke's time, when no words of indenture would supply its place. 6 Coke, 20. In this country it is a mere formal act, not necessary to the deed's being an indenture. See Bac. Abr. Leases (E 2) ; Comyn, Dig. Fait (C, and note d) ; Litt. § 370; Co. Litt. 143b, 229a; Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c 1, § 24; 2 Sharswood, -Bl. Comm. 294; 2 Washb. Real Prop. 587 et seq.; 1 Steph. Comm. 447. The ancient practice was to deliver as many copies of an instrument as there were parties to it. And as early as King John it became customary to write the copies on the same parchment, with the word chirogror phum, or some other word, written between them, and then to cut them apart through such word, leaving part of each letter on either side the line, which was at first straight, afterwards indented or notched. 1 Reeve, Hist. Eng. Law, 89; Du Cange; 2 Washb. Real Prop. 587 et seq. See Indent.

Financial Definition of Indenture

Agreement between lender and borrower which details specific terms of the bond issuance. Specifies legal obligations of bond issuer and rights of bondholders.

Legal Definition of Indenture

A written agreement under which bonds and debentures are issued, setting forth maturity date, interest rate and other terms.

Synonyms of Indenture


  • agreement
  • agreement to work
  • apprenticeship agreement
  • arrangement
  • commitment
  • compact
  • contract
  • contract to work
  • contractual obligation
  • contractual statement
  • covenant
  • deed of agreement
  • instrument
  • mutual agreement
  • mutual undertaking
  • pact
  • pactum
  • stipulation
  • undertaking

Related Entries of Indenture in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Indenture in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Indenture in Historical Law

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Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Indenture in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary. The Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary entries include explanations of the context of abbreviations or acronyms as well as the direct meaning.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

, Secured Party.


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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Indenture
  • Author: Asian Law
  • Description: A deed between two parties drawn so that the edges are indented for the purpose of making identification of the various [...]

This entry was last modified: May 12, 2013

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