Glossary Of Notary / Notarial Terms
We hope you can find good use of this list of common and
maybe not so common notary terms. We have provided this
list as a courtesy. We base our list and rules on the
State of Oregon rules and procedures governing the rules and
requirements of an Oregon Commissioned Notary. It is
highly possible we missed some items in our Notary Glossary
and/or made an error in our Glossary of Notary Terms. If
you find an error or omission please feel free to contact us
with the correction.
/ Updated 4/5/2008
Acknowledge: To admit the existence, or truth of a
statement and accept responsibility.
Acknowledgment: A formal declaration made to
authoritative witness by the person who executed the document
that it was freely executed.
Acknowledgment Certificate: A written statement, affixed
to an agreement, signed and sealed by an authorized official
that states in a form, usually prescribed by law, that the
official took the acknowledgment of the person who signed the
Administer: To give or apply in a formal way.
Affiant: One who makes a swearing statement in an
Affidavit: A written declaration made under oath before a
notary public or other authorized officer.
Affirmation: To declare positively or firmly; maintain to
be true. An affirmation replaces "swearing before God."
Affix: To secure (an object) to another; to attach; add
Apostille: Authentication document for Hague Convention
Appointment: The act of designating for an office or
Attest: To affirm to be correct, true, or genuine;
Authenticate: To prove or verify as genuine.
Certificate: A document testifying to a fact,
qualification, or promise; or 2) A written statement legally
Certified Copy: A document certified by a notary to be a
true and correct copy of the original.
Civil Action: Not a criminal action. A lawsuit for the
purpose of protection of private (not public) rights and
compensation for their violation.
Civil Liability: The responsibility and obligation to
make compensation to another person for damages caused by
improper performance of duties and acts.
Closing Agent: Closing agents can be the lender, escrow,
title, closing service companies, etc. A closing agent actually
performs the closing process, which includes, disbursement of
funds, the issuing of title insurance, if applicable and
recording of the deed. In addition, the closing agent, if a
notary, can also notarize the applicable documents in the loan
Commercial Paper: 1) Any of various short-term negotiable
papers originating in business transactions; or 2) A document
whose purpose is to transfer money such as a check, bill of
exchange or draft.
Commission: A document describing the notary's
appointment and term of office.
Credible Witness: A believable witness worthy of
confidence. Creates a chain of personally known individuals from
the notary public to the signer of a document.
CNSA: The acronym CNSA means "Certified Notary Signing
Agent". The basic definition of a CNSA is a Notary Public who
has been trained by the National Notary Association (NNA) to
handle the execution and notarization of mortgage, refinancing
and real estate transactions.
Dispose: To store in an orderly manner. In relation to
notarial journal, to store for seven years.
Duress: Constraint by threat, coercion.
Embosser: A pliers-like device, that when squeezed
together with paper between the jaws, makes raised areas and
indentations on paper. Used as a protection device. Not an
official notary seal; but may be used in addition to the
official notary seal.
Errors and Omission Insurance: An insurance policy
designed for the protection of the notary when held liable for
honest mistakes. The insurance policy absorbs the notary's costs
and financial liabilities up to an agreed limit.
Felony: A crime more serious than a misdemeanor and
punishable by a more stringent sentence.
Journal of Notarial Acts: Notarial journal prescribed by
law to record notarial acts.
Jurat: An affidavit declaring when, where, and before
whom it was sworn.
Jurisdiction/Venue: The locality where a cause of action
occurs. The state and county where a notarization takes place.
Loose Certificate: A document with notarial wording that
is separate from, and attached to, the document being notarized.
It is used when no wording is provided on the document, when
that provided wording does not comply with the state's
requirements, when there is no room for the notary seal on the
document, or when a preprinted certificate has already been used
by another notary in the case of multiple signers.
L.S. (locus sigilli): Indicates where the official notary
seal imprint is to be placed. Latin term Locus Sigilli means
"place of the seal."
Misconduct: Behavior not conforming to prevailing
standards or laws.
Misdemeanor: An offense of lesser gravity than a felony
for which punishment may be a fine or imprisonment.
Notary Journal: An official record book of notarizations
performed by a notary. Required by law in the State of Oregon.
All entries must be in chronological order and have all required
fields completed at the time of notarization. If must be kept
under the direct and exclusive control of the notary and kept in
locked and/or secured area.
Notary Public: A person commissioned by a state
government to serve the public as an impartial witness with
duties specified by law. The notary has the power to witness the
signing of documents and to administer oaths.
Notary Seal: An official stamp or embosser used by a
notary to seal notarizations. It must be kept under the direct
and exclusive control of the notary
Notary Signing Agent: National Notary Association is
using this name for a Notary Public that is trained to do loan
document signings, see Signing Agent.
Oath: A statement by a person who asserts it to be true,
calling upon God as witness.
Official Notary Seal: An official stamp or embosser used
by a notary to seal notarizations. It must be kept under the
direct and exclusive control of the notary.
Personally Known: Familiarity with an individual
resulting from interactions with that individual over a period
of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the
individual has the identity claimed.
Power of Attorney: A legal instrument authorizing one to
act as another's agent or attorney.
Resignation: Written statement that one is resigning a
position or office.
Revoke: To cancel or rescind.
S.S. or SCT: Indicates where the notarization is
performed. Latin term Silicet means "in particular" or "namely."
Commonly referred to as jurisdiction.
Satisfactory Evidence: Sufficient means of identifying a
signer which meets criteria set forth by law.
Sanctions: The penalty for noncompliance specified in a
law or decree.
Signing Agent: A Notary Public who has been trained by
the National Notary Association (NNA) to handle the execution
and notarization of mortgage, refinancing and real estate
Signing Service: A company who subcontracts signing
appointments to "Loan Document Signers" (Notary Public) for
signing of loan documents and notarization. The sole purpose of
this company is to act as a "Go-between" company, between the
client and the notary public".
Subscribe: To sign one's name in attestation, testimony,
Subscribing Witness: A person who appears before the
notary on behalf of the principal. The subscribing witness must
have been requested and/or authorized by the principal to get
the document notarized, must swear under oath or affirmation
that they either saw the principal sign the document or heard
the principal acknowledge that they signed the document, must
sign the document before appearing in from of the notary or in
the notary's presence, must establish identity through personal
knowledge of the notary or through the oath or affirmation of a
credible witness known to the subscribing witness and the
notary, and must sign the notary's journal.
Suspend: To cause to stop for a period; interrupt.
Swear/Sworn: To make a solemn promise; to vow, usually
Testimonium clause: At the end of many documents and
certificates that follows the form "witness my hand and seal" or
some variation thereof.
Venue / Jurisdiction: The locality where a cause of
action occurs. The state and county where a notarization takes
Verification: A confirmation of the truth of a theory or
Waiver of Fees: A statement which waives or gives up the
right to charge for notarial services.
Witness: A person who watches an action take place.