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noun \ˌī-(ˌ)ō-ˈyü\

: a usually written promise to pay a debt

Full Definition of IOU

:  a paper that has on it the letters IOU, a stated sum, and a signature and that is given as an acknowledgment of debt

Examples of IOU

  1. I don't have any cash, so I'll have to give you an IOU.

Origin of IOU

from the pronunciation of I owe you
First Known Use: 1795
IOU Defined for Kids


noun \ˌī-ō-ˈyü\

Definition of IOU for Kids

:  a written promise to pay a debt


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