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A bond is a legal contract in which a borrower such government, company or institution issues a certificate by which promises to pay its creditors a specific rate of interest for a fixed duration and then redeem the contract at face value on maturity. In theory bonds are safer than stocks because they have a fixed maturity and are repaid before any payments are made to shareholders. But if a company fails its bond holders may suffer just as much as its shareholders.
See also: Convertible Bond, Bearer Shares/Bonds, Bullet Bond, Fixed Income, Senior Secured Debt, Coupon, Debt, Treasury Bond, Treasury Bill, Treasury Note