Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A certificate or voucher acknowledging a debt.
  • n. An unsecured bond issued by a civil or governmental corporation or agency and backed only by the credit standing of the issuer.
  • n. A customhouse certificate providing for the payment of a drawback.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A certificate that certifies an amount of money owed to someone; a certificate of indebtedness.
  • n. A certificate of a loan made to the government; a government bond.
  • n. A type of bond secured only by the general credit or promise to pay of the issuer, now commonly issued by large, well established corporations with adequate credit ratings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A writing acknowledging a debt; a writing or certificate signed by a public officer, as evidence of a debt due to some person; the sum thus due.
  • n. A customhouse certificate entitling an exporter of imported goods to a drawback of duties paid on their importation.
  • n. Any of various instruments issued, esp. by corporations, as evidences of debt. Such instruments (often called debenture bonds) are generally, through not necessarily, under seal, and are usually secured by a mortgage or other charge upon property; they may be registered or unregistered. A debenture secured by a mortgage on specific property is called a mortgage debenture; one secured by a floating charge (which see), a floating debenture; one not secured by any charge a naked debenture. In general the term debenture in British usage designates any security issued by companies other than their shares, including, therefore, what are in the United States commonly called bonds. When used in the United States debenture generally designates an instrument secured by a floating charge junior to other charges secured by fixed mortgages, or, specif., one of a series of securities secured by a group of securities held in trust for the benefit of the debenture holders.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A writing acknowledging a debt; a writing or certificate signed by a public officer or corporation as evidence of debt; specifically, an instrument, generally under seal, for the repayment of money lent: usually if not exclusively used of obligations of corporations or large moneyed copartnerships, issued in a form convenient to be bought and sold as investments.
  • n. In the customs, a certificate of drawback; a writing which states that a person is entitled to a certain sum from the government on the reëxportation of specified goods, the duties on which have been paid.
  • n. In some government departments, a bond or bill by which the government is charged to pay a creditor or his assigns the money due on auditing his account.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future
  • n. a certificate or voucher acknowledging a debt

Etymologies

Middle English debentur, from Latin dēbentur, they are due (probably the first word appearing on certificates of indebtedness), third person pl. passive of dēbēre, to owe; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Originally debentur, from Latin debentur ("there are owing"), supposedly the first word of such a document in early times. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Company still holds approximately $2. 5MM in current debt, of which approximately $816,000 is a short-term debenture, convertible into common shares at

    The Earth Times Online Newspaper

  • The majority of the decrease resulted from a slight increase in the Israeli Consumer Price Index (CPI), compared to the third quarter last year, which reduced long term debenture expenses, partially offset by currency losses resulting from the impact of currency fluctuations on foreign activities.

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  • It uses a personal seat license, called a debenture, to raise funds.

    U.S. Open Left in the Rain as Competitors Look for Cover

  • Yesterday's term was debenture, which is defined as:

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  • These cigars had been regularly entered at the custom house, and were entitled to debenture, that is, to a return of the duties, on sufficient proof being furnished that they had been exported and landed in a foreign port.

    Jack in the Forecastle or, Incidents in the Early Life of Hawser Martingale

  • The Company is offering repayment at the full value of the debenture, which is equivalent to 1 NIS par value.

  • It also declared a special dividend of 80 cents in cash and $3.20 of principal in the form of a debenture, which is likely to be a five-year, zero coupon bond.

    GAMCO Investors 3Q net income rises on fees - Yahoo! Finance

  • The repayment of the debenture, which is exercisable at $0.25 per common share, was originally due on March 22, 2009.

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  • Each converted share entitles the debenture holder to one share purchase warrant, which will expire two years following the closing date.

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  • Practical men of business transfer such words as "debenture" or "commodity" from debt or comfort in general to the palpable concrete symbols of debt or comfort; and in like manlier doctors, soldiers, lawyers, shipmen, -- all whose interest and knowledge are centred on some particular craft or profession, drag words from the general store and adapt them to special uses.

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  • c.1455, from L. debentur "there are due," said to have been the first word in formal certificates of indebtedness.

    July 21, 2007