The noun recognizance, which means an agreement you make with a court of law to show up when you're told to, is seen most often in the phrase "released on his own recognizance."

Of four look-alikes in English — recognizance plus recognition, reconnaissance, and reconnoiterrecognizance has perhaps the narrowest meaning: an obligation requiring you to do something (usually, appear in court). The word has been kicking around for a while: the OED finds a form of it in Chaucer, and its root is the Old French reconnaistre, or recognize.

Definitions of recognizance
  1. noun
    (law) a security entered into before a court with a condition to perform some act required by law; on failure to perform that act a sum is forfeited
    synonyms: recognisance
    see moresee less
    bail, bail bond, bond
    (criminal law) money that must be forfeited by the bondsman if an accused person fails to appear in court for trial
    type of:
    security, surety
    property that your creditor can claim in case you default on your obligation
Word Family