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

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 Glacken and Johnson were both released on their own recognizance to await trial. Cameron Knight,, "Two arrested at Taylor High School football game," 3 Sep. 2019 The actor voluntarily surrendered to New York police for questioning in June and was released on his own recognizance. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Jury selection starts today in the sex abuse trial of actor Cuba Gooding Jr.," 3 Sep. 2019 He was booked and later released from the Multnomah County Detention Center on his own recognizance., "Driver who killed pedestrian on NE Portland sidewalk faces charges," 28 Aug. 2019 At an initial court appearance on Monday, prosecutors recommended his bail be set at $100,000, but a judge ruled that he can be released on his own recognizance, CBS affiliate KPAX reports. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Man allegedly throws 13-year-old boy to the ground for not taking hat off during national anthem," 7 Aug. 2019 Brockway appeared in court Monday on a felony charge of assault on a minor and reportedly was released on his own recognizance Tuesday. Cliff Pinckard,, "Montana man fractures 13-year-old boy’s skull for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem, reports say," 6 Aug. 2019 Garland was released on his own recognizance Saturday, according to the electronic court records. Akira Kyles,, "Westminster man faces child abuse charge," 27 Aug. 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

13 Sep 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 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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