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recognizance

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noun re·cog·ni·zance \ri-ˈkäg-nə-zən(t)s, -ˈkä-nə-\

Simple Definition of recognizance

  • law : a legal promise made by someone before a court of law that must be kept to avoid being punished

Full Definition of recognizance

  1. 1 a :  an obligation of record entered into before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (as appearance in court) usually under penalty of a money forfeiture <released on his own recognizance> b :  the sum liable to forfeiture upon such an obligation

  2. 2 archaic :  token, pledge

Origin of recognizance

Middle English recognissance, alteration of reconissaunce, from Anglo-French, from reconoistre to recognize


First Known Use: 14th century




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