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

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 The project relies on modern materials and construction methods and borrows from the work done by both Soviet and American scientists. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Might Actually Build a Nuclear-Powered Rocket," 16 Nov. 2018 Delevingne's borrowed-from-the-boys approach is refreshing and decidedly high-fashion, channeling the Old Hollywood glamour of Marlene Dietrich. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cara Delevingne Wore a Top Hat and Tails to the Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Her bright green hat matched her dress—and was a subtle, if likely coincidental, nod to the emerald tiara that the bride borrowed from Queen Elizabeth's collection. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "Princess Anne Wore Emerald Green to Her Niece Princess Eugenie's Wedding to Jack Brooksbank," 12 Oct. 2018 Save yourself the headache of trying to think of something funny to say and borrow inspo from this list. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "25 Thanksgiving Instagram Captions Nobody Can Resist," 31 Aug. 2018 The Duchess accessorized her bespoke Catherine Walker look with what People reports were pearl drop earrings borrowed from the monarch's collection. Emily Wang, Glamour, "Kate Middleton Borrowed Queen Elizabeth II's Earrings in Scotland," 28 Aug. 2018 But a closer look shows that Fitbit has completely overhauled the Charge 3 with a new aluminum body and Gorilla Glass 3 screen borrowed from the Versa line. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Fitbit’s Charge 3 adds a better screen, swim tracking, and smartwatch-style features," 20 Aug. 2018

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

2 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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