pledge,n. 1. A formal promise or undertaking. 2. The act of providing something as security for a debt or obligation. [Cases: Pledges 1.C.J.S. Pledges §§ 2–4, 6–10.] 3. A bailment or other deposit of personal property to a creditor as security for a debt or obligation; PAWN (2). See contract to pledge under CONTRACT. Cf. LIEN(1); PIGNUS(1).4. The item of personal property so deposited; PAWN(1).5. The thing so provided. — Formerly also termed safe-pledge. 6. A security interest in personal property represented by an indispensable instrument, the interest being created by a bailment or other deposit of personal property for the purpose of securing the payment of a debt or the performance of some other duty. 7.Hist. A person who acts as a surety for the prosecution of a lawsuit. • In early practice, pledges were listed at the end of the declaration. Over time the listing of pledges became a formality, and fictitious names (such as “John Doe” or “Richard Roe”) were allowed. — pledge,vb. — pledgeable,adj.
“A pledge is something more than a mere lien and something less than a mortgage.” Leonard A. Jones, A Treatise on the Law of Collateral Securities and Pledges§ 2, at 4 (Edward M. White rev., 3d ed. 1912).
“A pledge is a bailment of personal property to secure an obligation of the bailor. If the purpose of the transaction is to transfer property for security only, then the courts will hold the transaction a pledge, even though in form it may be a sale or other out-and-out transfer.” Ray Andrews Brown, The Law of Personal Property § 128, at 622 (2d ed. 1936).
“The pledge is as old as recorded history and is still in use, as the presence of pawnbrokers attests. In this transaction the debtor borrows money by physically transferring to a secured party the possession of the property to be used as security, and the property will be returned if the debt is repaid. Since the debtor does not retain the use of pledged goods, this security device has obvious disadvantages from the debtor’s point of view.” Ray D. Henson, Secured Transactions § 3-1, at 17 (3d ed. 1983).
[Blacks Law 8th]