Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

debt

play
noun \ˈdet\

Simple Definition of debt

  • : an amount of money that you owe to a person, bank, company, etc.

  • : the state of owing money to someone or something

  • : the fact that you have been influenced or helped by someone or something

Full Definition of debt

  1. 1 :  sin, trespass

  2. 2 :  something owed :  obligation <unable to pay off his debts>

  3. 3 :  a state of owing <deeply in debt>

  4. 4 :  the common-law action for the recovery of money held to be due

debt·less play \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of debt

  1. He is trying to pay off gambling debts.

  2. The company has run up huge debts.

  3. Their debts are piling up.

  4. He's been working three jobs in an attempt to get out of debt.

  5. The company was in debt but is now turning a profit.

  6. I am deep in debt.

  7. I'm thousands of dollars in debt.

  8. She went into debt to pay for college.

  9. I'm worried that we will fall into debt.



Origin of debt

Middle English dette, debte, from Anglo-French dette something owed, from Vulgar Latin *debita, from Latin, plural of debitum debt, from neuter of debitus, past participle of debēre to owe, from de- + habēre to have — more at give


First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with debt




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up debt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ