recognizance n[Anglo-French recognisance reconisance , literally, recognition, from Old French reconoisance , from reconoistre to recognize, from Latin recognoscere ]
1 : an obligation entered into on the record before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (as the paying of a debt) usually under penalty of a money forfeiture
: the sum liable to forfeiture
2 : a simple personal obligation or undertaking (as to appear in court) entered into before a magistrate and having no money penalty attached [released on his own ]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.