Partly from Middle English indenten (“to dent in”), equivalent to in- + dent (see dent); partly from Middle English indenten, endenten, from Old French endenter (“to provide with teeth”), from en- (“in-, en-”) + dent (“tooth”), from Latin dēns.
indent (plural indents)
- A cut or notch in the margin of anything, or a recess like a notch.
- A stamp; an impression.
- A certificate, or intended certificate, issued by the government of the United States at the close of the Revolution, for the principal or interest of the public debt.
- A requisition or order for supplies, sent to the commissariat of an army.
- (transitive) To notch; to jag; to cut into points like a row of teeth
- to indent the edge of paper
- (intransitive) To be cut, notched, or dented.
- To dent; to stamp or to press in; to impress
- indent a smooth surface with a hammer
- to indent wax with a stamp
- (historical) To cut the two halves of a document in duplicate, using a jagged or wavy line so that each party could demonstrate that their copy was part of the original whole.
- (intransitive, reflexive, obsolete) To enter into a binding agreement by means of such documents; to formally commit (to doing something); to contract.
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970:, New York, 2001, p.91:
- The Polanders indented with Henry, Duke of Anjou, their new-chosen king, to bring with him an hundred families of artificers into Poland.
- 1698, Robert South, Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions, London: Thomas Bennet, p. 28,
- And is this now the Person who is to oblige his Maker? to indent and drive bargains with the Almighty?
- 1803, John Browne Cutting, “A Succinct History of Jamaica” in Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, pp. xlii-xliii,
- […] he accidentally met with the commander of a trading vessel bound to Barbadoes, and being actuated by an adventurous spirit, [he] bargained for a passage by indenting himself to serve a planter for four years after his arrival in that island.
- (transitive, obsolete) To engage (someone), originally by means of indented contracts.
- to indent a young man to a shoemaker; to indent a servant
- (typography) To begin (a line or lines) at a greater or lesser distance from the margin. See indentation, and indention. Normal indent pushes in a line or paragraph. "hanging indent" pulls the line out into the margin.
- to indent the first line of a paragraph one em
- to indent the second paragraph two ems more than the first
- (obsolete, intransitive) To crook or turn; to wind in and out; to zigzag.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- (military, India, dated) To make an order upon; to draw upon, as for military stores.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Wilhelm to this entry?)