Promissory Note

Legal Definition and Related Resources of Promissory Note

Meaning of Promissory Note

An unconditional promise in writing made by one person to another signed by the maker , engaging to pay on demand , or at a fixed or determinable future time, a sum certain in money to order or to bearer . Distinct from a bill of exchange in that the maker of a promissory note is primarily liable on the note while the liability of the drawer of the bill of exchange is not primary but secondary , particularly after acceptance . See Binghampon Pharmacy v First Nat. Bank, 131 Tenn. 711,176 S. W. 1038. Also, Gellert v Bank of California, 107 Or. 162, 214 P. 377. Also see U.C.C. §3-104(l)(d).

Promissory Note Alternative Definition

A written promise to pay a certain sum of money at a future time, unconditionally. Bailey, Bills, 1; 3 Kent, Comm. 74; 7 Watts & S. (Pa.) 264; 2 Humph. (Tenn.) 143; 10 Wend. (N. Y.) 675; 1 Ala. 263; 7 Mo. 42; 2 Cow. (N. Y.) 536; 6 N. H. 364; 7 Vern. 22. A written engagement to pay absolutely to a person named, or to order or bearer, at a specified time or on demand, a certain sum of money. 10 111. 252; 15 Mass. 387; 127 N. Y. 92. No particular form of expression is required. 37 111. 137; 7 Vt. 22. A date is not essential. 32 Ind. 375; 30 Vt. 11; 76 Ala. 339. The promise must be unconditional. 30 Minn. 441; 6 Wis. 209. The promise to pay may be implied from a phrase such as good for, etc. (33 111. 424; 6 N. H. 364), of- due to, etc. (88 Hun [N. Y.] 535; 27 111. 337; 17 Ga. 574). To be a promissory note, the instrument must be for the payment of money only. 40 Ark. 344; 20 N. Y. 272; 17 Wis. 139. The payee must be clearly designated (13 Ga. 55; 6 Mo. App. 583; 1 111. 18); but this may be done by description, without naming him (16 111. 169). The consideration need not be expressed. 127 N. Y. 92; 26 Or. 315; 8 Cal. 288. The place of payment need not be stated. 31 Tex. 614. The time of payment must be designated, unless the note is payable on demand (86 U. S. 560). But see 8 Miss. 176; 1 Pin. (Wis.) 643. The amount, payable must be certain (60 Mich. 432), but the addition of current exchange (9 Mich. 241; 54 Minn. 184; 10 Wis. 34), or attorneys’ fees (82 Ind. 370), does not prevent the instrument being a note. The decisions are in conflict as to whether negotiability is an essential of a promissory note. That it is not, see 1 Ga. 226; 46 Me. 387; 10 Gill & J. 299; 6 Gush. (Mass.) 172; 34 Vt. 402. Contra, 1 111. 18; 8 N. J. Law, 262; 66 N. Y. 14.

Financial Definition of Promissory Note

Written promise to pay.

International Trade Meaning and Definition of Promissory Note

Financial document in which the buyer agrees to make payment to the seller at a specified time.

Related Entries of Promissory Note in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Promissory Note 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.

Promissory Note in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Promissory Note in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Promissory Note in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Bank Note, Bank Bill, Negotiable Instrument, , , Payee, Security.


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This definition of Promissory Note is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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Promissory note in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of promissory note.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Promissory Note Definition (in the Accounting Vocabulary)

The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants offers the following definition of Promissory Note in a way that is easy for anybody to understand: Evidence of a DEBT with specific amount due and interest rate. The note may specify a maturity date or it may be payable on demand. The promissory note may or may not accompany other instruments such as a MORTGAGEproviding security for the payment thereof.

Concept of Promissory Note in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Promissory Note: A promise in writing, and executed by the maker, to pay a specified amount during a limited time, or on demand, or at sight, to a named person, or on order, or to bearer.

Concept of Promissory Note in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Promissory Note: A promise in writing, and executed by the maker, to pay a specified amount during a limited time, or on demand, or at sight, to a named person, or on order, or to bearer.

Promissory Note


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