(verb) be in debt; “She owes me $200”; “I still owe for the car”; “The thesis owes much to his adviser”


(verb) be obliged to pay or repay


(verb) be indebted to, in an abstract or intellectual sense; “This new theory owes much to Einstein’s Relativity Theory”

Source: WordNet® 3.1



owe (third-person singular simple present owes, present participle owing, simple past (archaic) ought or owed, past participle (archaic) own or owed)

(transitive) To be under an obligation to give something back to someone or to perform some action for someone.

(intransitive) To have debt; to be in debt.

Usage notes

• The original past tense form was ought, which during Middle English began to be used with indefinite signification and has become a distinct verb. The original past participle survives in the adjective own.


• woe

Source: Wiktionary

Owe, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Owed, (Ought ( obs.); p. pr. & vb. n. Owing.] Etym: [OE. owen, awen,aghen, to have, own, have (to do), hence, owe, AS. agan to have; akin to G. eigen, a., own, Icel. eiga to have, Dan. eie, Sw. äga, Goth. áigan, Skr. Ought, v., 2d Own, Fraught.]

1. To possess; to have, as the rightful owner; to own. [Obs.] Thou dost here usurp The name thou ow'st not. Shak.

2. To have or possess, as something derived or bestowed; to be obliged to ascribe (something to some source); to be indebted or obliged for; as, he owed his wealth to his father; he owed his victoty to his lieutenants. Milton. O deem thy fall not owed to man's decree. Pope.

3. Hence: To have or be under an obigation to restore, pay, or render (something) in return or compensation for something received; to be indebted in the sum of; as, the subject owes allegiance; the fortunate owe assistance to the unfortunate. The one ought five hundred pence, and the other fifty. Bible (1551). A son owes help and honor to his father. Holyday.

Note: Owe was sometimes followed by an objective clause introduced by the infinitive. "Ye owen to incline and bow your heart." Chaucer.

4. To have an obligation to (some one) on account of something done or received; to be indebted to; as, to iwe the grocer for supplies, or a laborer for services.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


Word of the Day

3 December 2022


(adjective) standing apart; not attached to or supported by anything; “a freestanding bell tower”; “a house with a separate garage”

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Coffee Trivia

Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Goat herders in Ethiopia noticed their goats seem to be “dancing” after eating berries from a particular shrub. They reported it to the local monastery, and a monk made a drink out of it. The monk found out he felt energized and kept him awake at night. That’s how the first coffee drink was born.

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