- Owe is defined as to have a debt to pay or to feel the need to do something.
- An example to owe is to have a balance to pay on a credit card bill.
- An example of to owe is wanting to send a thank you card to someone for a nice gift they gave you.
transitive verbowed, owing
- to have an obligation to pay; be indebted to the amount of
- to have or feel the need to do, give, etc., as because of gratitude
- to have or cherish (a certain feeling) toward another: now only in
- to be indebted to someone for the existence of
- Obsolete to own; have
Origin of oweMiddle English owen ; from Old English agan, to own, possess, have, akin to Gothic aigan, Old High German eigan ; from Indo-European base an unverified form ēik-, to have as one's own, be capable (of) from source Sanskrit an unverified form īśē, (he) possesses
verbowed owed, ow·ing, owes
- To be indebted to the amount of: He owes me five dollars.
- To have a moral or legal obligation to render or offer: I owe them an apology.
- To be in debt to: We owe the plumber for services rendered.
- To be indebted or obliged for: owed their riches to oil; owes her good health to diet and exercise.
- To bear (a certain feeling) toward a person or persons: You seem to owe your neighbors a grudge.
- Archaic To have as a possession; own.
Origin of oweMiddle English owen, from Old English āgan, to possess; see aik- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present owes, present participle owing, simple past and past participle owed)
- To be under an obligation to give something back to someone or to perform some action for someone.
- To have debt, to be in debt.