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A written confession of an action by a defendant, subscribed but not sealed, and authorizing the plaintiff to sign judgment and issue execution, usually for a sum named.

It is given after the action is brought to save expense.

It differs from a warrant of attorney, which is given before the commencement of any action and is under seal. A cognovit actionem is an acknowledgment and confession of the plaintiff's cause of action against the defendant to be just and true.