verb (used with object)

  1. to form deep recesses in: The sea indents the coast.
  2. to set in or back from the margin, as the first line of a paragraph.
  3. to sever (a document drawn up in duplicate) along an irregular line as a means of identification.
  4. to cut or tear the edge of (copies of a document) in an irregular way.
  5. to make toothlike notches in; notch.
  6. to indenture, as an apprentice.
  7. British. to draw an order upon.
  8. Chiefly British. to order, as commodities.

verb (used without object)

  1. to form a recess.
  2. Chiefly British. to make out an order or requisition in duplicate.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. to draw upon a person or thing for something.
    2. to enter into an agreement by indenture; make a compact.


  1. a toothlike notch or deep recess; indentation.
  2. an indention.
  3. an indenture.
  4. American History. a certificate issued by a state or the federal government at the close of the Revolutionary War for the principal or interest due on the public debt.
  5. British. a requisition for stores.

verb (ɪnˈdɛnt) (mainly tr)

  1. to place (written or printed matter, etc) in from the margin, as at the beginning of a paragraph
  2. to cut or tear (a document, esp a contract or deed in duplicate) so that the irregular lines may be matched to confirm its authenticity
  3. mainly British (in foreign trade) to place an order for (foreign goods), usually through an agent
  4. (when intr, foll by for, on, or upon) mainly British to make an order on (a source or supply) or for (something)
  5. to notch (an edge, border, etc); make jagged
  6. to bind (an apprentice, etc) by indenture

noun (ˈɪnˌdɛnt)

  1. mainly British (in foreign trade) an order for foreign merchandise, esp one placed with an agent
  2. mainly British an official order for goods
  3. (in the late 18th-century US) a certificate issued by federal and state governments for the principal or interest due on the public debt
  4. another word for indenture
  5. another word for indentation (def. 4)

verb (ɪnˈdɛnt)

  1. (tr) to make a dent or depression in

noun (ˈɪnˌdɛnt)

  1. a dent or depression

early 15c., indenten/endenten “to make notches; to give (something) a toothed or jagged appearance,” also “to make a legal indenture,” from Old French endenter “to notch or dent, give a serrated edge to,” from Medieval Latin indentare “to furnish with teeth,” from in- “into, in, on, upon” (see in- (2)) + Latin dens (genitive dentis) “tooth” (see tooth). Related: Indented; indenting. The printing sense is first attested 1670s. The noun is first recorded 1590s, from the verb. An earlier noun sense of “a written agreement” (late 15c.) is described in Middle English Dictionary as “scribal abbrev. of endenture.”

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