October 28, 2020

Volume X, Number 302

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Do You Indorse Or Endorse A Document?

When you indorse a check or stock certificate, you typically sign it on the back.  That makes etymological sense because "indorse" is derived from the Latin preposition in, meaning on, and dorsum, meaning back. 

But why do some folks choose to write "endorse" rather than "indorse"?  The prefix "en" is the French derivation of the Latin "in".  French made it into the English legal system as a result of the well-known visitation of William the Conquerer in 1066.  As a result, the "great and the good" in England were French speaking Normans. 

The drafters of the Uniform Commercial Code appear to have been undecided or simply striving for the elegance of variation because you can find both spellings throughout the Code.  For example, Section 3204 provides "'Indorsement' means a signature . . ." and Section 8201(a)(11) provides "'Endorsement' means a signature . . .". 

© 2010-2020 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume X, Number 268
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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm
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Keith Bishop works with privately held and publicly traded companies on federal and state corporate and securities transactions, compliance, and governance matters. He is highly-regarded for his in-depth knowledge of the distinctive corporate and regulatory requirements faced by corporations in the state of California.

While many law firms have a great deal of expertise in federal or Delaware corporate law, Keith’s specific focus on California corporate and securities law is uncommon. A former California state regulator of securities and financial institutions, Keith has decades of...

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