bonds
Debenture De*ben"ture (?; 135), n. [L. debentur they are due, fr. debere to owe; cf. F. debentur. So called because these receipts began with the words Debentur mihi.] 1. 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. [1913 Webster]

2. A customhouse certificate entitling an exporter of imported goods to a drawback of duties paid on their importation. --Burrill. [1913 Webster]

Note: It is applied in England to deeds of mortgage given by railway companies for borrowed money; also to municipal and other bonds and securities for money loaned. [1913 Webster]

3. 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. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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