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law : a legal promise made by someone before a court of law that must be kept to avoid being punished
Full Definition of RECOGNIZANCE
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
Middle English recognissance, alteration of reconissaunce, from Anglo-French, from reconoistre to recognize
First Known Use: 14th century
In law, obligation entered into before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (e.g., appearance in court), usually under penalty of a money forfeiture. The most common use of recognizance is in connection with bail in criminal cases. The accused may also be released on his own recognizance when no bail is required.