1

bond

noun \ ˈbänd \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of bond

1 : something that binds or restrains : fetter
  • prisoners freed from their bonds
  • the bonds of oppression
2 : a binding agreement : covenant
  • united in the bonds of holy matrimony
  • My word is my bond.
3 a : a band or cord used to tie something
b : a material (such as timber or brick) or device for binding
c chemistry : an attractive force that holds together the atoms, ions, or groups of atoms in a molecule or crystal
  • chemical bonds
d : an adhesive, cementing material, or fusible ingredient that combines, unites, or strengthens
4 : a uniting or binding element or force : tie
  • the bonds of friendship
5 a : an obligation made binding by a forfeit of money; also : the amount of the money guarantee
  • I have sworn an oath, that I will have my bond
  • —Shakespeare
  • The accused was released on $40,000 bond.
b : one who provides bail or acts as surety (see surety 3)
c finance : an interest-bearing certificate of public or private indebtedness
  • money that she had invested in stocks and bonds
d : an insurance agreement pledging that one will become legally liable for financial loss caused to another by the act or default of a third person or by some contingency over which the third person may have no control
6 masonry : the systematic lapping (see 2lap 4a) of brick in a wall
7 : the state of goods made, stored, or transported under the care of an agency until the duties or taxes on them are paid
  • you may leave … tobacco in bond with customs
  • —Richard Joseph
8 alcohol : a 100-proof straight whiskey aged at least four years under government supervision before being bottled called also bonded whiskey

Examples of bond in a Sentence

  1. a daughter's bond with her mother

  2. Recent events have helped to strengthen the bonds between our two countries.

  3. My roommate and I share a common bond because we both grew up in the Midwest.

  4. She has invested most of her money in stocks and bonds.

Recent Examples of bond from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bond.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of bond

Middle English band, bond — more at band


2

bond

verb

Definition of bond

transitive verb
1 masonry : to lap (a building material, such as brick) for solidity of construction
2 a : to secure payment of duties and taxes on (goods) by giving a bond (see 1bond 5a)
  • warehouses for bonding tobacco
b : to convert into a debt secured by bonds (see 1bond 5a)
c insurance : to provide a bond (see 1bond 5d) for or cause to provide such a bond
  • bond an employee
3 a : to cause to adhere firmly
  • Heat is used to bond the plastic sheets together.
b : to embed in a matrix (see matrix 3b)
  • abrasive material bonded in a resinous binder
c chemistry : to hold together in a molecule or crystal by chemical bonds (see 1bond 3c)
intransitive verb
1 : to hold together or solidify by or as if by means of a bond (see 1bond) or binder (see binder 3)
  • The glue didn't bond to the glass.
2 : to form a close relationship especially through frequent association
  • the new mother bonded with her child
  • The retreat was a great bonding experience for the team.

bondable

play \ˈbän-də-bəl\ adjective

bonder

noun

Examples of bond in a Sentence

  1. Heat was used to bond the sheets of plastic together.

  2. The poster was bonded to the wall with glue.

Recent Examples of bond from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bond.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of bond

see 1bond

bond Synonyms

Synonyms
commune, click, relate
Related Words
befriend; empathize, identify, sympathize

3

bond

adjective

Definition of bond

archaic
: bound in slavery

Origin and Etymology of bond

Middle English bonde, from bonde customary tenant, from Old English bōnda householder, from Old Norse bōndi


Financial Definition of BOND

bearer bond

What It Is

A bearer bond, often called a coupon bond, is a bond whose certificate includes small detachable coupons. The coupons grant interest payments to the holder from the borrower.

How It Works

Actual bearer bonds are uncommon today because nearly all bonds are registered electronically rather than in certificate form. (although some bondholders still choose to receive paper certificates). Therefore, the term coupon refers to the interest rate of a bond rather than the physical nature of the certificate.

In the 1980s, some financial institutions started buying bearer bonds and selling the coupons as separate securities, called strips.

Let's assume you purchase a $1,000 XYZ Company bearer bond. The coupon rate on the bond is 5%, which means the issuer will pay you 5% interest per year, or $50, on the face value of the bond ($1,000 x 0.05). Even if your bond trades for less than $1,000 (or more than $1,000), the issuer is still responsible for paying you $50 per year. To claim your interest payment, you would simply clip off the appropriate coupon from the bond's certificate and show it to an agent of the issuer.

Why It Matters

Coupon bonds are called bearer bonds for a reason. That is, anyone who presents the coupon to the issuer is entitled to the interest payment even if that person is not the owner of the bond. Therefore, since bearer bonds offer many fraud and tax evasion opportunities, they are nearly unheard of today.

Instead, modern bonds are usually registered bonds or book entry bonds. Registered bonds are bonds with physical certificates that describe the terms of the debt, and the registered holder receives interest payments automatically from the issuer. Book entry bonds are bonds that are electronically registered to the financial institution acting on behalf of the investor. The investor receives a receipt for his or her bond in lieu of a certificate, and the investor's account at the financial institution receives the interest payment.


blanket bond

What It Is

Blanket bond refers to insurance coverage carried by banks and brokerage houses that protects against any losses incurred by unlawful or dishonest activity on the part of employees. It is also called a blanket fidelity bond or a fidelity bond.

How It Works

A blanket bond is a form of SEC-mandated insurance that protects banks, investment houses, and other financial companies.

Examples where a blanket bond would protect the company include, but are not limited to, trading fraud, embezzlement, material and intellectual theft, and forgery.

Why It Matters

A blanket bond differs from other insurance because it protects against a loss as a direct result of illicit activities from within the company. Most insurance policies would typically cover only losses incurred from external occurrences, such as burglary and property damage.


bond

What It Is

A bond, also known as a fixed-income security, is a debt instrument created for the purpose of raising capital. They are essentially loan agreements between the bond issuer and an investor, in which the bond issuer is obligated to pay a specified amount of money at specified future dates.

There are four major bond types in the U.S. markets, which are represented by four major issuers:

How It Works

When an investor purchases a bond, they are "loaning" that money (called the principal) to the bond issuer, which is usually raising money for some project. When the bond matures, the issuer repays the principal to the investor. In most cases, the investor will receive regular interest payments from the issuer until the bond matures.

Different types of bonds offer investors different options. For example, there are bonds that can be redeemed prior to their specified maturity date, and bonds that can be exchanged for shares of a company. Other bonds have different levels of risk, which can be determined by its credit rating.

Bond rating agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's (S&P) provide a service to investors by grading fixed income securities based on current research. The rating system indicates the likelihood that the issuer will default either on interest or capital payments.

Why It Matters

Bonds and other fixed-income securities play a critical role in an investor's portfolio. Owning bonds helps to diversify a portfolio, as the bond market doesn't rise or fall alongside the stock market. More important, bonds are generally less volatile then stocks, and are usually viewed as a "safer" investment.

If you'd like to read more in-depth bond-related definitions, check out these definitions:

Collateralized Bond Obligation -- A bond that uses high-yielding junk bonds as collateral.
Commercial Paper -- A short-term commercial bond that matures in less than three months.
Convertible Bond -- A bond that can be exchanged for other investment securities.
Covenant -- The specific promises the bond issuer sets in the contract.
Credit Rating -- A grade assigned to a bond to indicate how risky it is.
Debentures -- An unsecured bond not backed by collateral.
Maturity Date -- The specified date when the bond issuer must pay back the investor's principal.
Municipal Bond -- A bond issued by a state or local government.
Treasury Bond -- Long-term bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury.

More bond-related definitions can be found at the InvestingAnswers Bond Category Page.


convertible bond

What It Is

A convertible bond gives the bondholder the right to convert the bond into a fixed number of shares of common stock in the issuing company.

How It Works

For example, consider a Company XYZ bond with a $1,000 par value that is convertible into Company XYZ common stock. It has a coupon of 6%, payable annually. The bond’s prospectus specifies a conversion ratio, which is the number of shares that the investor will receive if he chooses to convert.  In this example, Company XYZ’s convertible bond has a conversion ratio of 20. The investor is effectively purchasing 20 shares of Stock XYZ for $50 per share ($1000 / 20 = $50).

The bondholder keeps the bond for two years and collects a $60 interest payment each year. At the end of year two, he elects to convert his bond into 20 shares of stock. By this time, the stock price has risen to $75 per share. The bondholder converts his bond to 20 shares at $75 per share, and now his investment is worth $1,500.

What makes this feature attractive to investors is that it allows bondholders to participate in the appreciation of the underlying security.

The conversion ratio is not the only aspect of a convertible bond to analyze. Like other bonds, convertible bonds usually offer a coupon, and their prices are based on prevailing market rates and the credit quality of the issuer.

Why It Matters

A firm issuing debt may add a convertibility feature to make the bonds more attractive to investors. The firm may be able to get a lower interest rate or better terms by adding a convertibility feature.

From the investor's perspective, a convertibility feature allows for collection of a steady stream of interest income plus an opportunity to take advantage of future stock price appreciation. Investors should be aware of the issuer's credit quality before investing and that there is reinvestment risk if the bond is callable. Investors should thoroughly review a bond’s prospectus before investing.


coupon bond

What It Is

A coupon bond, frequently referred to as a bearer bond, is a bond with a certificate that has small detachable coupons. The coupons entitle the holder to interest payments from the borrower.

How It Works

Actual coupon bonds are rare today because most bonds are not issued in certificate form; rather, they are registered electronically (although some bondholders still choose to hold paper certificates). Thus, these days the term coupon refers to the rate of interest on a bond rather than the physical nature of the certificate.

In the 1980s, some financial institutions began purchasing coupon bonds and selling the coupons as separate securities, called strips.

Let's assume you purchase a $1,000 XYZ Company coupon bond. The coupon rate on the bond is 5%, which means the issuer will pay you 5% interest per year, or $50, on the face value of the bond ($1,000 x 0.05). Even if your bond trades for less than $1,000 (or more than $1,000), the issuer is still responsible for paying you $50 per year. To claim your interest payment, you would simply clip off the appropriate coupon from the bond certificate and present it to an agent of the issuer.

Why It Matters

The fact that coupon bonds are usually bearer bonds is important, because it means that anyone who presents the coupon to the issuer is entitled to the interest payment regardless of whether that person is the owner of the bond. For obvious reasons, coupon bonds present a wide range of fraud and tax evasion opportunities, so they are nearly unheard of today.

Instead, modern bonds are usually registered bonds or book entry bonds. Registered bonds are bonds with physical certificates that describe the terms of the debt, and the registered holder receives interest payments automatically from the issuer. Book entry bonds are bonds that are electronically registered to the financial institution acting on behalf of the investor. The investor receives a receipt for his or her bond in lieu of a certificate, and the investor's account at the financial institution receives the interest payment.


guaranteed bond

What It Is

A guaranteed bond is a bond whose interest and principal payments are guaranteed by a third party.

How It Works

An entity that issues a guaranteed bond has solicited a third party (usually a bank, insurance company or another corporation) that agrees to pay the interest and principal payments on the bond should they, the issuer, be unable to make such payments. In exchange for guaranteeing the bond, the third-party guarantor receives a fee.

To illustrate, suppose City XYZ issues guaranteed municipal bonds. Company ABC guarantees the bonds in exchange for a $100,000 fee. If City XYZ is ever unable to make principal and interest payments to the bond holders, Company ABC will be responsible for making the payments.

Why It Matters

Guaranteed bonds are mutually beneficial to the issuers and the guarantors. Issuers can often get a lower interest rate on debt if there is a third-party guarantor.  And the third-party guarantor receives a fee for incurring the risk that comes with guaranteeing another entity's debt.

During the recent financial crisis, the U.S. government guaranteed many different types of debt in order to get credit flowing again. If you want to learn about some of the double-digit yields that come with ultra-safe, government-guaranteed debt, click here to read Forget Treasuries -- Buy This 12% Yield Instead.


mortgage bond

What It Is

A mortgage bond uses a mortgaged property as collateral.

How It Works

A mortgage bond is collateralized by one or several mortgaged properties. In case of default, the mortgaged properties may be sold to pay back bondholders.

For example, suppose bond ABC is backed by a mortgage on property XYZ. If bond ABC goes into default, the holders of the bond may liquidate property XYZ as compensation.

Why It Matters

Mortgage bonds, unlike traditional bonds with similar characteristics, tend to have lower yields. The reason is that mortgage bonds are lower risk because the mortgaged property is pledged as collateral.


municipal bond

What It Is

A municipal bond, commonly referred to as a "muni" bond, is a debt security issued by a state or local government.

How It Works

The purchaser of a municipal bond is effectively loaning money to a government entity, which will make a predetermined number of interest and principal payments to the purchaser. Issuers typically use municipal bond proceeds to finance day-to-day operating activities or capital expenditures for the public good such as road, hospital, school, or infrastructure projects.

There are many kinds of municipal bonds, but the two most prominent are general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. General obligation bonds are repaid with taxes collected by the issuer. They are unsecured and generally have maturities of at least 10 years. Revenue bonds are repaid with the revenue generated by the projects financed with the bond proceeds (such as a toll road).

Municipal bonds may be purchased directly from the issuer at the time of issuance or in the secondary market through a broker/dealer. One of the most popular ways to invest in municipal bonds is by purchasing shares of a municipal bond fund.

Why It Matters

One of the biggest advantages of investing in municipal bonds is their tax-advantaged status. That means many investors in high tax brackets particularly benefit from investing in municipal bonds. Furthermore, since they are issued by government entities, municipal bonds are more likely to repay their debts. This low-risk makes the bonds attractive to conservative investors. Finally, some investors feel a sense of civic pride by investing in projects that will positively affect the community in which they live.


accrual bond

What It Is

A Z-bond is a bond representing the last tranche of a bond that relies on payments from underlying securities.

How It Works

To understand how Z-bonds work, it's important to understand how they're created. Let's assume you want to buy a house, and so you get a mortgage from XYZ Bank. XYZ Bank transfers money into your account, and you agree to repay the money according to a set schedule. XYZ Bank (which could also be a thrift, credit union, or other originator) may then choose to hold the mortgage in its portfolio (i.e., simply collect the interest and principal payments over the next several years) or sell it.

If XYZ Bank sells the mortgage, it gets cash to make other loans. So let's assume that XYZ Bank sells your mortgage to ABC Company, which could be a governmental, quasi-governmental, or private entity. ABC Company groups your mortgage with similar mortgages it has already purchased (referred to as "pooling" the mortgages). The mortgages in the pool have common characteristics (i.e., similar interest rates, maturities, etc.).
ABC Company then sells securities that represent an interest in the pool of mortgages, of which your mortgage is a small part (called securitizing the pool). It sells these (Mortgage-backed Securities) MBS to investors in the open market. When you make your monthly mortgage payment to XYZ Bank, XYZ Bank keeps a fee or spread and sends the rest of the payment to ABC Company. ABC Company in turn takes a fee and passes what's left of your principal and interest payment along to the investors who hold the MBS (ABC Company hires a central paying agent to accomplish this administratively).

Investors who buy the Z-bonds start receiving interest and principal payments only after all the other tranches have been paid. These bonds can have maturities as long as 20 years or more. Interest accrues on these bonds, but no cash payments are made until the other tranches have been retired.

Why It Matters

Z-bonds are the riskiest MBS because investors receive no cash payments for an extended period of time and thus may be more likely to be left holding the bag if the underlying mortgages default. However, the presence of Z-bonds also makes the senior tranches more secure -- after all, those tranches (and their investors) get the Z-bond's payments first. One advantage, however, is that the holder of a Z-bond does not face much reinvestment risk -- he or she will continue to accrue interest as the stated interest rate for the life of the bond (even though no cash payments may come immediately).

For investors, an MBS is much like a bond. Most offer semi-annual or monthly income, and this payment frequency enhances the compounding effects of reinvestment. However, it is important to note that payments that are part interest and part principal could be unfavorable to some investors, because with each decrease in outstanding principal there is a corresponding decrease in the amount of interest that accrues. For example, if a $50,000 Ginnie Mae with a 5% coupon would pay $208.33 ($50,000 x .05/12) in interest every month, but it might also pay $100 in principal. This means that only $49,900 is earning interest next month, and by the end of the year there may only be $48,800 earning interest. The return of principal could also vary depending on how quickly the underlying mortgages are repaid.

Prepayment risk is a large concern for MBS investors. When people move, for example, they sell their houses, payoff their mortgages with the proceeds, and buy new houses with new mortgages. When interest rates fall, many homeowners refinance their mortgages, meaning they obtain new, lower-rate mortgages and pay off their higher-rate mortgages with the proceeds. Like bonds, changes in interest rates affect MBS prices, but the change is exacerbated by the fact that MBS investors are more likely to get their principal back early. They might have to reinvest that principal at rates below what their MBS were yielding.



BOND Defined for English Language Learners

bond

noun

Definition of bond for English Language Learners

  • : something (such as an idea, interest, experience, or feeling) that is shared between people or groups and forms a connection between them

  • finance : an official document in which a government or company promises to pay back an amount of money that it has borrowed and to pay interest for the borrowed money

  • : a chain or rope that is used to prevent someone from moving or acting freely


bond

verb

Definition of bond for English Language Learners

  • : to join (things) together

  • : to join to something else

  • : to form a close relationship with someone


BOND Defined for Kids

1

bond

noun \ ˈbänd \

Definition of bond for Students

1 : something that binds
2 : the condition of being held together
  • The glue forms a strong bond.
3 : a force or influence that brings or holds together
  • a bond of friendship
4 : a chain or rope used to prevent someone from moving or acting freely
5 : a promise to do something
  • My word is my bond.
6 : a legal agreement in which a person agrees to pay a sum of money if he or she fails to do a certain thing
7 : a government or business certificate promising to pay a certain sum by a certain day

2

bond

verb

Definition of bond for Students

bonded; bonding
1 : to stick or cause to stick together
2 : to form a close relationship
  • The girls quickly bonded.

Medical Dictionary

bond

noun \ ˈbänd \

medical Definition of bond

: an attractive force that holds together atoms, ions, or groups of atoms in a molecule or crystal usually represented in formulas by a line

bond

verb

Law Dictionary

1

bond

noun

legal Definition of bond

1 a : a usually formal written agreement by which a person undertakes to perform a certain act (as appear in court or fulfill the obligations of a contract) or abstain from performing an act (as committing a crime) with the condition that failure to perform or abstain will obligate the person or often a surety to pay a sum of money or will result in the forfeiture of money put up by the person or surety; also : the money put up
Note: The purpose of a bond is to provide an incentive for the fulfillment of an obligation. It also provides reassurance that the obligation will be fulfilled and that compensation is available if it is not fulfilled. In most cases a surety is involved, and the bond makes the surety responsible for the consequences of the obligated person's behavior. Some bonds, such as fidelity bonds, function as insurance agreements, in which the surety promises to pay for financial loss caused by the bad behavior of an obligated person or by some contingency over which the person may have no control.
appeal bond
: a cost bond required by a rule of procedure to be given by an appellant in order to cover the costs of an appeal
appearance bond
: an often unsecured bond given by a defendant in a criminal trial to guarantee the defendant's appearance in court as scheduled
attachment bond
1 : a bond given by a plaintiff seeking to attach the defendant's property that ensures payment to the defendant of any damages suffered because of the attachment in the event the plaintiff loses the suit
2 : a bond given by a defendant in order to have an attachment released that ensures payment of a judgment awarded to the plaintiff
bail bond
: a bond given by a criminal defendant or by his or her surety to ensure compliance with the terms of bail and especially with the requirement that the defendant appear in court as scheduled
bid bond
: a surety bond often required of contractors bidding on construction work to ensure that the successful bidder will accept the job and will also provide a performance bond
blanket bond
: a fidelity bond covering all persons or all of a category of persons employed (as by a bank) or holding office (as of a trustee in bankruptcy)
completion bond
: performance bond in this entry
contract bond
: a bond given to protect a person or business entity against loss caused by a breach of a contract (as for building, construction, or supply)
cost bond
: a bond given by a plaintiff to ensure payment of court costs
depository bond
: a bond given by a bank often for deposits from state or municipal governments that covers the amount of the deposit in the event of the bank's insolvency
fidelity bond
: a bond or other form of contract to cover an employer or government entity against financial loss due to the dishonesty of an employee or other trusted person
injunction bond
: a bond required to be given by the applicant for an injunction to cover costs and damages incurred by a party found to have been wrongfully enjoined
judicial bond
: a bond (as an appeal bond or bail bond) required to be given in a court proceeding
license bond
: a surety bond required by law or as a condition to the conduct of a specific business or profession called also permit bond
payment bond
: a surety bond that covers payment to certain parties (as suppliers) in the event that a contractor breaches a construction contract
peace bond
: a bond required to be given by a defendant to ensure good behavior and discourage breaches of the peace
penal bond
: a bond that ensures payment of a stipulated sum in the event of a party's nonperformance and that is often required for government contracts
performance bond
: a surety bond that ensures a property owner (as a developer or municipality) of the completion of a construction contract or payment of actual damages to the extent of the bond in the event that the contractor fails to complete it called also completion bond
permit bond
: license bond in this entry
personal bond
: a criminal defendant's unsecured promise to appear in court as scheduled after release from custody
replevin bond
: a bond given by a plaintiff in a replevin action to cover losses to the defendant or court officer seizing the property in the defendant's possession and transferring it to the plaintiff in the event that the plaintiff loses the case
supersedeas bond
: a bond given by an appellant in order to obtain a stay of the judgment awarded at trial and for the purpose of ensuring that if the appellant loses the appeal the appellee will be paid the judgment plus any damages incident to the delay caused by the appeal
surety bond
: a bond in which a surety agrees to assume responsibility for the performance of an obligation of another in the event of a default
b : one who acts as a surety
2 : an interest-bearing document giving evidence of a debt issued by a government body or corporation that is sometimes secured by a lien on property and is often designed to take care of a particular financial need — see also collateralized mortgage obligation
accrual bond
: a bond that is usually the last tranche of a collateralized mortgage obligation and from which no payments of principal or interest are made until the earlier tranches are paid in full called also Z-bond
adjustment bond
: a bond that is issued in settlement of a prior obligation as part of a business reorganization and on which interest payments are usually contingent upon earnings
baby bond
: a bond having a face value of usually $500 or less
bearer bond
: a fully negotiable bond payable to its bearer — compare registered bond in this entry
book-entry bond
: a bond whose ownership is recorded by computer but for which no certificate is issued
convertible bond
: a bond that may be exchanged for another type of security (as common stock) at prearranged terms
coupon bond
: a bearer bond that has coupons that must be cut off and presented for payment of interest
debenture bond
: a bond backed by the general credit of the issuer rather than by a specific lien on particular assets : debenture
discount bond
: a bond with a market value lower than its face value
flower bond
: a Treasury bond that may be redeemed at face value before maturity if used in settling federal estate taxes
guaranteed bond
: a bond on which payment of interest or principal or both is guaranteed by a corporation other than the issuer
income bond
: a bond that pays interest at a rate based on the issuer's earnings
junk bond
: a high-risk bond that offers a high yield and is often issued to finance the takeover of a company
mortgage bond
: a bond secured by a mortgage on property — compare debenture
municipal bond
: a bond issued by a municipality to fund the expenses of running the government or of specific programs or projects
registered bond
: a bond registered in the name of the holder on the books of the company and issued with the name of the holder written on the bond certificate — compare bearer bond in this entry
revenue bond
: a bond issued by a public agency authorized to build, acquire, or improve a revenue-producing property (as a toll road) and payable solely out of the revenue derived from such property
savings bond
: a nontransferable registered bond issued by the U.S. government in denominations of $50 to $10,000
serial bond
: one of a series of bonds maturing periodically rather than on a single maturity date
Treasury bond
: a long-term government bond issued by or under the authority of the U.S. Treasury — compare Treasury bill at bill, Treasury note at note
zero-coupon bond
: a bond that is sold at a price significantly below face value, pays no annual interest, and is redeemable at full value at maturity — compare strip

2

bond

transitive verb

legal Definition of bond

1 : to convert into a debt secured by bonds
2 : to provide a bond for
  • bond an employee


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