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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n debenture a certificate or voucher acknowledging a debt
    • n debenture the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Debenture A customhouse certificate entitling an exporter of imported goods to a drawback of duties paid on their importation.
    • Debenture 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.
    • Debenture 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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n debenture A writing acknowledging a debt; a writing or certificate signed by a public officer or corporation as evidence of debt; specifically, an instrument, generally under seal, for the repayment of money lent: usually if not exclusively used of obligations of corporations or large moneyed copartnerships, issued in a form convenient to be bought and sold as investments. Sometimes a specific fund or property is pledged by the debentures, in which case they are usually termed mortgage debentures.
    • n debenture In the customs, a certificate of drawback; a writing which states that a person is entitled to a certain sum from the government on the reëxportation of specified goods, the duties on which have been paid.
    • n debenture In some government departments, a bond or bill by which the government is charged to pay a creditor or his assigns the money due on auditing his account.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Debenture de-bent′ūr a written acknowledgment of a debt: a deed of mortgage given by a railway or other company for borrowed money: a certificate entitling an exporter of imported goods to a repayment of the duty paid on their importation
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. debentur, they are due, fr. debere, to owe; cf. F. debentur,. So called because these receipts began with the words Debentur mihi,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. debentur, there are due, 3d pers. pl. pass. of debēre, to owe—the first word of the receipt.


In literature:

Debentures were issued; new taxes were imposed.
"The History of Tasmania, Volume I (of 2)" by John West
Debenture Capital, L10,000, to be issued in Debentures of L50 each.
"Handbook of Embroidery" by L. Higgin
Now, Ben, my boy, that's what I call a XX plan; no scratch brand about that; superfine, and no mistake, and entitled to debenture.
"Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848" by Various
Till this has been done the company cannot allot any shares or debentures.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 7" by Various
Glorious youth, that only needs "debentures" to be divine!
"Confessions Of Con Cregan An Irish Gil Blas" by Charles James Lever
What debentures, railroad shares, mining scrip, or mortgages?
"Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) A Man Of Our Day" by Charles James Lever
But the debentures are mostly all right and some of the prefs.
"A Bed of Roses" by W. L. George
In fact, every effort has been made to ensure that these debentures appeal to greed.
"Project Daedalus" by Thomas Hoover
At first the letters of mortgage were made out on a certain estate (estate debentures).
"Readings in Money and Banking" by Chester Arthur Phillips
Such company may acquire legal recognition and may represent the creditors of debentures.
"A Fantasy of Far Japan" by Baron Kencho Suyematsu
Three hundred thousand in cash and the remainder in debentures.
"The Red Room" by August Strindberg
The drawbacks which were paid upon debentures and certificates, to L.2,156,800.
"An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith
Thus, ten years ago, the London and North Western Railway with its ninety millions of capital had about thirty thousand debenture and stock holders.
"Social Transformations of the Victorian Age" by T. H. S. (Thomas Hay Sweet) Escott
The Act authorized the Commissioners to issue debentures, bearing six per cent.
"The Story of the Great Fire in St. John, N.B., June 20th, 1877" by George Stewart
The debentures of the company, L1,250,000, are held mainly, if not entirely, in the United Kingdom by the general public.
"Loss of the Steamship 'Titanic'" by British Government
In 1870 the Brisbane Bridge Debentures Act and the Brisbane Waterway Act were passed.
"Our First Half-Century" by Government of Queensland
First Mortgage Debentures to extend the line from Salto to Rojas.
"Argentina" by W. A. Hirst
Two and a half, three, three and a half, and debentures.
"The White Virgin" by George Manville Fenn
Four millions' worth of debentures were issued in London in 1907 and 4 millions in 1908.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 15, Slice 2" by Various
Uncle Joseph was a good judge of many things besides bonds, debentures, shares, and scrip.
"Contraband" by G. J. Whyte-Melville