Definition of recognizance in US English:


(British recognisance)


  • A bond by which a person undertakes before a court or magistrate to observe some condition, especially to appear when summoned.

    ‘he was released on his own recognizance’
    • ‘To my surprise, she told me that she wouldn't oppose my request that Fred be released on his own recognizance.’
    • ‘They were released on their own recognisances pending their next court appearance on July 15.’
    • ‘He was arrested for violating the terms of his recognizance.’
    • ‘She failed to comply with the terms of her release by failing to comply with the conditions of her recognizance.’
    • ‘It records that he has an extensive criminal record, including threats, numerous failures to comply with recognizances and probation orders and three failures to appear.’


Middle English: from Old French reconnissance, from reconnaistre ‘recognize’.