re·cog·ni·zance (rĭ-kŏgnĭ-zəns, -kŏnĭ-)
1. An obligation, entered into before a judge or magistrate, to perform a particular action, such as appearing in court, without the posting of a bond: released on his own recognizance.
2. A sum of money pledged to assure the performance of such an action.
[Middle English recognisanze, from Old French recognuissance, alteration (influenced by Medieval Latin recognizāre, to recognize) of reconoissance, from reconoistre, reconoiss-, to recognize; see RECOGNIZE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.