What is a fair catch?

What is a fair catch? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. (American football) A uncontested catch on a kicking play, after the receiver waves his hand to indicate that he will not run with the ball, assuring that he will not be tackled on catching it.
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Examples
Martin made a fair catch, but before he could run back was downed in his tracks.
The Centurion's men went pressing, and got seventy-three men, a fair catch, but not enough.
Caldwell was down under it like a flash, but Birch, of the Army, made a fair catch and kicked back for twenty yards.
During Hall's hot streak, he had one fair catch for every 2.1 punts he returned.
The Navy quarter tried to make a fair catch, but it slipped from his fingers.
Harris punted high and short and Chambers made a fair catch on her forty-two yards.

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