1. a deed or agreement executed in two or more copies with edges correspondingly indented as a means of identification.
  2. any deed, written contract, or sealed agreement.
  3. a contract by which a person, as an apprentice, is bound to service.
  4. any official or formal list, certificate, etc., authenticated for use as a voucher or the like.
  5. the formal agreement between a group of bondholders and the debtor as to the terms of the debt.
  6. indentation.

verb (used with object), in·den·tured, in·den·tur·ing.

  1. to bind by indenture, as an apprentice.
  2. Archaic. to make a depression in; wrinkle; furrow.


  1. any deed, contract, or sealed agreement between two or more parties
  2. (formerly) a deed drawn up in duplicate, each part having correspondingly indented edges for identification and security
  3. (often plural) a contract between an apprentice and his master
  4. a formal or official list or certificate authenticated for use as a voucher, etc
  5. a less common word for indentation


  1. (intr) to enter into an agreement by indenture
  2. (tr) to bind (an apprentice, servant, etc) by indenture
  3. (tr) obsolete to indent or wrinkle

“contract for services,” late 14c., from Anglo-French endenture, Old French endenteure “indentation,” from endenter (see indent). Such contracts (especially between master craftsmen and apprentices) were written in full identical versions on a sheet of parchment, which was then cut apart in a zigzag, or “notched” line. Each party took one, and the genuineness of a document of indenture could be proved by juxtaposition with its counterpart. As a verb, 1650s, from the noun.

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