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

Young, whose bail had been set at $10,000, was released from the DuPage County jail Thursday afternoon on personal recognizance bond, records show. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Two men charged in Aurora gas station robbery," 12 Apr. 2018 His attorney says Ohazulume denies the allegations and asked for his release on personal recognizance. Fox News, "Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting young girl," 12 Sep. 2018 He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to have no contact with the woman. Thomas Oide,, "Boston police dog plays role in arrest," 2 July 2018 Smith had requested a speedy trial, and after prosecutors asked for his trial to be delayed due to evidence complications, Smith was released on his on recognizance. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Man gets 60 years in murder dismemberment case," 12 Apr. 2018 Tennis was released on a $1,092 personal recognizance bond. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "Day care owner allegedly spanked boy, 4, with a paddle nicknamed 'Bob'," 7 June 2018 On Tuesday, a judge issued her a $1,902 personal recognizance bond. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "South Carolina Day Care Owner Accused of Striking a 4-Year-Old With a Paddle Nicknamed ‘Bob’," 6 June 2018 Burke was released on personal recognizance bond and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced this fall. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Ex-VP at software company GlobalSCAPE pleads guilty to wire fraud," 31 May 2018 MLive reports that District Judge Joseph Filip arraigned him the same day and gave him a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Tim Whelan Jr., Detroit Free Press, "Report: Boys hoops coach accused of stealing thousands from parents," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for recognizance

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

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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 \

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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