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verb bor·row \ˈbär-(ˌ)ō, ˈbȯr-\

Simple Definition of borrow

  • : to take and use (something that belongs to someone else) for a period of time before returning it

  • : to take and use up (something) with the promise to give back something of equal value

  • : to use (an idea, saying, etc.) that was thought up by someone else

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of borrow

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to receive with the implied or expressed intention of returning the same or an equivalent <borrow a book> <borrowed a dollar> b :  to borrow (money) with the intention of returning the same plus interest

  3. 2 a :  to appropriate for one's own use <borrow a metaphor> b :  derive, adopt

  4. 3 :  to take (one) from a digit of the minuend in arithmetical subtraction in order to add as 10 to the digit holding the next lower place

  5. 4 :  to adopt into one language from another

  6. 5 dial :  lend

  7. intransitive verb
  8. :  to borrow something

borrower play \-ə-wər\ noun
borrow trouble
  1. :  to do something unnecessarily that may result in adverse reaction or repercussions

Examples of borrow in a sentence

  1. The twins often borrow each other's clothes.

  2. I'm borrowing a friend's car for the weekend.

  3. He borrowed the book from the library.

  4. Will you see if we can borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbors?

  5. She borrowed $20 from me.

  6. The speech was peppered with phrases borrowed from Winston Churchill.

  7. She borrowed the technique from local artisans.

Origin of borrow

Middle English borwen, from Old English borgian; akin to Old English beorgan to preserve — more at bury

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with borrow


biographical name Bor·row \ˈbär-(ˌ)ō\

Definition of Borrow

  1. George Henry 1803–1881 Eng. author

BORROW Defined for Kids


verb bor·row \ˈbär-ō\

Definition of borrow for Students


  1. 1 :  to take and use something with the promise of returning it <Can I borrow your pen?>

  2. 2 :  to use something begun or thought up by another :  adopt <borrow an idea>

  3. 3 :  to adopt into one language from another <Many English words are borrowed from French.>

borrower \ˈbär-ə-wər\ noun

Law Dictionary


transitive verb bor·row

Legal Definition of borrow

  1. :  to take or receive temporarily; specifically :  to receive (money) with the intention of returning the same plus interest

borrower noun

Seen and Heard

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tending to dismiss important matters

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