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, obsolete) To enter into a binding agreement by means of such documents; to formally commit (to doing something); to contract.
1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069:, 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.
- to indent and drive bargains with the Almighty
- (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.
- (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?)