borrow

verb
bor·​row | \ ˈbär-(ˌ)ō , ˈbȯr-\
borrowed; borrowing; borrows

Definition of borrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to receive with the implied or expressed intention of returning the same or an equivalent borrow a book from the library borrowed a dollar borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor
b finance : to borrow (money) with the intention of returning the same plus interest (see interest entry 1 sense 3a) borrow money from the bank
2a : to appropriate for one's own use borrow a metaphor from Shakespeare
b : derive, adopt traditions borrowed from African polytheism
3 mathematics : 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
4 : to adopt into one language from another The English word "entrepreneur" was borrowed from French.
5 dialect : lend Borrow me your pencil.

intransitive verb

: to borrow something borrows heavily from Nietzsche
borrow trouble
: to do something unnecessarily that may result in adverse reaction or repercussions

Borrow

biographical name
Bor·​row | \ ˈbär-(ˌ)ō \

Definition of Borrow (Entry 2 of 2)

George Henry 1803–1881 English author

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Other Words from borrow

Verb

borrower \ ˈbär-​ə-​wər , ˈbȯr-​ \ noun

Synonyms for borrow

Synonyms: Verb

adopt, embrace, espouse, take on, take up

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Examples of borrow in a Sentence

Verb

The twins often borrow each other's clothes. I'm borrowing a friend's car for the weekend. He borrowed the book from the library. Will you see if we can borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbors? She borrowed $20 from me. The speech was peppered with phrases borrowed from Winston Churchill. She borrowed the technique from local artisans.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even the intriguing title, Velvet Buzzsaw, inexplicably borrows its name from Rhodora’s former rock band and is never really explained. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Netflix's Velvet Buzzsaw Shouldn't Work—But It (Mostly) Does," 3 Feb. 2019 Polk predicts that Eugenie will borrow the York tiara that her mother, Sarah Ferguson, wore on her wedding day to Prince Andrew in 1986. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "There’s another royal wedding coming up: Princess Eugenie’s," 5 Oct. 2018 The aide said Uribe frequently borrowed money from her. Andrew Dyer, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Camp Pendleton general treated aide like 'servant' in Iraq, Pentagon says," 10 July 2018 It is well known that Conan Doyle borrowed Bell’s deductive genius (and his profile) for his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. The Economist, "When Arthur Conan Doyle cried “J’Accuse…!”," 7 July 2018 The village could borrow money to buy the Yerkes property, Trustee Jim D’Alessandro said. Ted Gregory, chicagotribune.com, "U. of C.'s Yerkes Observatory has been a cherished icon for decades. Now it's for sale, and people are nervous," 5 July 2018 But leftist President Nestor Kirchner vowed the country would never borrow from them again. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Why Argentina’s Talks With the IMF Are Enraging the Country," 11 May 2018 Financing the spending by borrowing, rather than by taxing, is important politically, but not economically. WSJ, "Sooner or Later, Our Growing Debt Will Bite," 18 Dec. 2018 Newsletter Sign-up The North Korean leader made economic development a focus of his New Year’s speech, and has shown interest in borrowing from China’s experience with economic overhauls. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korea and China Project Unity in Face of Stalled Nuclear Talks With U.S.," 10 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'borrow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of borrow

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for borrow

Verb

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

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Statistics for borrow

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for borrow

The first known use of borrow was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for borrow

borrow

verb

English Language Learners 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

borrow

verb
bor·​row | \ ˈbär-ō \
borrowed; borrowing

Kids Definition of borrow

1 : to take and use something with the promise of returning it Can I borrow your pen?
2 : to use something begun or thought up by another : adopt borrow an idea
3 : to adopt into one language from another Many English words are borrowed from French.

Other Words from borrow

borrower \ ˈbär-​ə-​wər \ noun
bor·​row

Legal Definition of borrow

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

Other Words from borrow

borrower noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on borrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with borrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for borrow

Spanish Central: Translation of borrow

Nglish: Translation of borrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of borrow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on borrow

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to deny responsibility for

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