borrow

verb
bor·​row | \ ˈbär-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce borrow (audio) , 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 How to pronounce Borrow (audio) \

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 How to pronounce borrower (audio) , 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

By comparison, the state borrowed an average of $583 million over the first three months of the year under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, according to the governor’s office. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Gov. Lamont keeps state on debt diet," 19 June 2019 Couples borrow, on average, $16,000 and typically pay it off within three years. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, "Americans, who are already under record-levels of debt, are taking out wedding-specific loans.," 19 June 2019 In 2011, the state borrowed $38 million to buy the land and transferred it to a seven-member commission appointed by the governor, with the input of the speaker of the House of Representatives and the mayor. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, "Building in Providence: a tale of bureaucratic headaches and too many delays," 17 June 2019 In late 2017, Rauner’s administration was also borrowing money on the bond market to pay down the state bill backlog, then hovering around $16 billion. Jamie Munks, chicagotribune.com, "Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s legislative wins, Illinois ‘not out of the woods’ financially," 14 June 2019 With uproarious derisiveness yet also empathetic warmth, Jarmusch borrows a small but solid batch of horror-movie tropes to evoke an existential tabula rasa with (almost) no way out. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, "“The Dead Don’t Die,” Reviewed: Jim Jarmusch’s Fiercely Political Zombie Comedy," 14 June 2019 Previous Peronist regimes have borrowed and splurged with unusual recklessness. The Economist, "Politics this week," 14 June 2019 Princess Beatrice borrowed a fashion tip from her aunt for Trooping the Colour this Saturday, June 8. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Everyone Is Obsessed With Princess Beatrice's Elaborate Trooping the Colour Dress and Hat," 8 June 2019 Ikea borrowed the technique for a 25-minute digital spot on dorm room products. Karen Pallarito, Health.com, "How Does ASMR Work? The Science Behind Those Brain-Tingling Sounds," 6 June 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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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 How to pronounce borrow (audio) \
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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