re·​cog·​ni·​zance | \ ri-ˈkäg-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce recognizance (audio) , -ˈkä-nə-\

Definition of recognizance

1a : an obligation of record entered into before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (such 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 archaic : token, pledge

Examples of recognizance in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Johnson was released on her own recognizance, Dower is being held on $2,500 bail, Jackson on $5,000 bail and Winchester on $7,500 bail. Erika Butler,, "Four women allegedly stole $5,600 worth of merchandise from DSW, Old Navy in Abingdon," 12 Sep. 2019 Fox said Artiaga was on supervised own recognizance release for a pending auto theft charge in Santa Clara County at the time of her arrest. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "San Jose woman arrested in dealership auto theft attempt," 16 Aug. 2019 He was released from Ingham County Jail on a personal-recognizance bond following his arraignment earlier this month, Fox News previously reported. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Attorney uses stuffed animal in case against MSU physicist charged with bestiality," 22 June 2018 Viau, who is about 50, is released on personal recognizance and permitted to travel in Canada and Europe. Washington Post, "Canadian and his firm plead guilty to transferring U.S. Navy rescue-sub data to China," 16 Sep. 2019 Frison, who lives in Hudson, was released on personal recognizance and ordered to have no contact with her wife., "Shannon Frison, 49, was charged with assault and battery on a household or family member, according to the Middlesex district attorney’s office.," 10 Sep. 2019 Lutz appeared in court Friday for a bond hearing and was released on her own recognizance, said Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Matt Walberg. Alexandra Kukulka,, "29-year-old Danville woman charged with attempted armed robbery in Northbrook," 10 Sep. 2019 She is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 23 and was released on her own recognizance. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "10-year-old girl films mom driving drunk, police say," 10 Sep. 2019 He was released on his own recognizance after a Tuesday bail review, according to electronic court records. Catalina Righter,, "Two charged in alleged Westminster assault involving replica handgun," 5 Sep. 2019

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

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First Known Use of recognizance

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

History and Etymology for recognizance

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

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Statistics for recognizance

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for recognizance

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

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How to pronounce recognizance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of recognizance

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


re·​cog·​ni·​zance | \ ri-ˈkäg-nə-zəns How to pronounce recognizance (audio) \

Legal Definition of recognizance

1 : an obligation entered into on the record before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (as the paying of a debt) usually under penalty of a money forfeiture also : the sum liable to forfeiture
2 : a simple personal obligation or undertaking (as to appear in court) entered into before a magistrate and having no money penalty attached released on his own recognizance

History and Etymology for recognizance

Anglo-French recognisance reconisance, literally, recognition, from Old French reconoisance, from reconoistre to recognize, from Latin recognoscere

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to spread as a report or rumor

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