down payment

down payment (plural down payments)

  1. (legal, finance) A payment representing a fraction of the price of something being purchased, made to secure the right to continue making payments towards that purchase.
  2. (by extension) Any initial commitment signifying an intention to carry out a larger future commitment, even though no legal rights or obligations are secured.
    • 2009, February 5, Barack Obama, My Door is Always Open
      After decades of empty rhetoric, that's the down payment that we need on energy independence.
    • 2009 April 4, Barack Obama, NATO summit
      These commitments of troops, trainers, and civilians represent a strong down payment on the future of our mission in Afghanistan and on the future of NATO.
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