Debt definition

dĕt
Frequency:
Debt is defined as owing money, owed money that is past due or the feeling as if you owe someone something.

An example of debt is what you owe on your mortgage and car loan.

An example of debt is a feeling of gratitude when someone helps you to go to college.

noun
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Something owed by one person to another or others.
noun
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An obligation that a person or organization has to another person or organization. Debt may be in the form of a bond, note, mortgage, line of credit, or other financial instrument. Debt may be secured by assets, which means that the assets will be seized in the event of default, or be unsecured.
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An obligation or liability to pay or return something.
noun
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(theol.) A sin.
noun
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A specific sum of money due as a result of a written or verbal agreement or by operation of law.
noun
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An action, state of mind, or object one has an obligation to perform for another, adopt toward another, or give to another.
noun
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The state or condition of owing something to another.

I am in your debt.

noun
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Money that one person or entity owes or is required to pay to another, generally as a result of a loan or other financial transaction.
noun
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(law) An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due.

noun
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The condition of owing.

To be in debt a thousand dollars.

noun
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An obligation or liability to pay or render something to someone else.

Students burdened with debt.

noun
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1
The condition of owing.

A young family always in debt.

noun
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Financial instruments, such as bonds, mortgages, and loans, that represent a claim to payment and rights of creditorship.

Invested in government debt; a company issuing debt.

noun
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A moral or legal obligation to make reparations or undergo punishment for committing an offense.

A criminal repaying his debt to society.

noun
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Something owed, such as money, goods, or services.

Used the proceeds to pay off her debts; a debt of gratitude.

noun
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2
be in someone's debt
  • to be indebted, obligated, or beholden to someone
idiom
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
debt
Plural:
debts

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

be in someone's debt

Origin of debt

  • Middle English dette from Old French from Vulgar Latin dēbita pl. of Latin dēbitum debt neuter past participle of dēbēre to owe ghabh- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English dett, from Old French dete (French: dette), from Medieval Latin dēbita, from Latin dēbitum (“what is owed, a debt, a duty”), neuter of dēbitus, perfect passive participle of dēbeō (“I owe”), contraction of *dehibeō (“I have from”), from de (“from”) + habeō (“I have”).

    From Wiktionary

  • The unpronounced "b" in the modern English spelling is a Latinisation from the Latin etymon dēbitum.

    From Wiktionary