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A measure of the likelihood of a bond's default. Credit ratings agencies conduct credit analysis in order to provide bond ratings; the criteria and the ratings themselves may change these from time to time. Bond ratings are important to bond investors as they make investment decisions. For example, if a bond has a low rating and an investor is risk averse, he/she will be unlikely to invest in that bond, as it will lead to an increased possibility that the investor will lose the amount invested. See also: Investment-grade, Junk.