bearer

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Bearer

One who is the holder or possessor of an instrument that is negotiable—for example, a check, a draft, or a note—and upon which a specific payee is not designated.

A negotiable instrument that is payable to "bearer" or to "cash" or to "the order of cash," that is, not naming a payee, is a bearer instrument, and is called "bearer" paper.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

bearer

n. anyone holding something, such as a check, promissory note, bank draft, or bond. This becomes important when the document (generally called a "negotiable instrument") states it is "payable to bearer," which means whoever holds this paper it can receive the funds due on it.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

bearer

the person holding. Where a BILL OF EXCHANGE or a security is made payable ‘to bearer’, anyone who presents the bill or security may claim payment; in the case of a transfer, indorsement is not necessary. A bearer bill (of exchange) is therefore one made out to the bearer.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BEARER. One who bears or carries a thing.
     2. If a bill or note be made payable to bearer, it will pass by delivery only, without endorsement; and whoever fairly acquires a right to it, may maintain an action against the drawer or acceptor.
     3. It has been decided that the bearer of a bank note, payable to bearer, is not an assignee of a chose in action within the 11th section of the judiciary act of, 1789, c. 20, limiting the jurisdiction of the circuit court. 3 Mason, R. 308.
     4. Bills payable to bearer are contra-distinguished from those payable to order, which can be transferred only by endorsement and delivery.
     5. Bills payable to fictitious payees, are considered as bills payable to, bearer.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.