verb (1)
in·​dent | \in-ˈdent \
indented; indenting; indents

Definition of indent 

(Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to divide (a document) so as to produce sections with irregular edges that can be matched for authentication

b : to draw up (something, such as a deed) in two or more exactly corresponding copies

2 : to notch the edge of : make jagged

3 : indenture

4 : to set (something, such as a line of a paragraph) in from the margin

5 chiefly British : to order by an indent

intransitive verb

1 obsolete : to make a formal or express agreement

2 : to form an indentation

3 chiefly British : to make out an indent for something

indent on

1 chiefly British : to make a requisition on

2 chiefly British : to draw on


noun (1)
in·​dent | \in-ˈdent, ˈin-ˌdent \

Definition of indent (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : indenture sense 1

b : a certificate issued by the U.S. at the close of the American Revolution for the principal or interest on the public debt

2 chiefly British

a : an official requisition

b : a purchase order for goods especially when sent from a foreign country

3 : indention


verb (2)
in·​dent | \in-ˈdent \
indented; indenting; indents

Definition of indent (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to force inward so as to form a depression

2 : to form a dent in


noun (2)
in·​dent | \in-ˈdent, ˈin-ˌdent \

Definition of indent (Entry 4 of 4)

Other Words from indent

Verb (1)

indenter noun

Verb (2)

indenter noun

First Known Use of indent

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for indent

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French endenter, from en- + dent tooth, from Latin dent-, dens — more at tooth

Verb (2)

Middle English endenten, from en- + denten to dent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about indent

Dictionary Entries near indent








Statistics for indent

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for indent

The first known use of indent was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for indent


in·​dent | \in-ˈdent \
indented; indenting

Kids Definition of indent

: to set in from the margin Indent the first line of your paragraph.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on indent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with indent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indent

Spanish Central: Translation of indent

Nglish: Translation of indent for Spanish Speakers

Comments on indent

What made you want to look up indent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!