Definition of debenture in English:



North American
  • 1An unsecured loan certificate issued by a company, backed by general credit rather than by specified assets.

    • ‘The Philadelphia-based MSO in late December sold $1.3 billion in convertible debentures to replace existing debt.’
    • ‘Traders in the bond division may have sub-specializations, such as government or corporate money market instruments or bonds, or even such instruments as debentures.’
    • ‘Debt takes many forms - from bonds, debentures, bank loans and notes payable, to other more complicated forms of debt units.’
    • ‘The finance company is unable to repay their debenture due to defaults on their loan book, so they are unable to recoup their principal.’
    • ‘Today these phantom bonds total about $3.2 trillion, or 42 percent of the government's total outstanding debentures.’
    credit, advance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British A long-term security yielding a fixed rate of interest, issued by a company and secured against assets.
      • ‘The bank took a debenture over the company's undertaking to secure the overdraft facilities granted to it.’
      • ‘In return, Gary wanted security by way of a debenture over the company's assets and Eddie and I agreed.’
      • ‘DFL granted a debenture to Midland as security for a loan.’
      • ‘The full course was opened in 1928 and in 1956 the club bought the land and property from the owners, thanks to money raised by an issue of debentures to members, who have continued to invest in the clubhouse and course over the past 50 years.’
      • ‘One commentator suggests that ordinary receivers appointed under a debenture or other security who are not licensed insolvency practitioners would not be covered by this exemption.’


Late Middle English (denoting a voucher issued by a royal household, giving the right to claim payment for goods or services): from Latin debentur are owing (from debere owe), used as the first word of a certificate recording a debt. The current sense dates from the mid 19th century.