debt

play
noun \ˈdet\

Definition of debt

  1. 1 :  sin, trespass Forgive us our debts.

  2. 2 :  something owed :  obligation unable to pay off his debts owe them a debt of gratitude a criminal's debt to society

  3. 3 :  a state of being under obligation to pay or repay someone or something in return for something received :  a state of owing deeply in debt to creditors

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

debtless

play \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of debt in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of debt from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology 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


DEBT Defined for English Language Learners

debt

play
noun

Definition of debt for English Language Learners

  • : 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


DEBT Defined for Kids

debt

play
noun \ˈdet\

Definition of debt for Students

  1. 1 :  1sin 1 We ask forgiveness of our debts.

  2. 2 :  something owed to another

  3. 3 :  the condition of owing something I am in debt to you for all your help.


Law Dictionary

debt

noun

Legal Definition of debt

  1. 1 :  something owed: as a :  a specific sum of money or a performance due another especially by agreement (as a loan agreement) to pay the debts…of the United States — U.S. Constitution art. I a debt for alimony b :  an obligation to pay or perform on another's claim discharged the debt — compare asset, equity 4 Editor's note: It is often up to the courts to decide what is or is not a debt under various laws. Courts disagree whether criminal restitution is a debt under the Bankruptcy Code. antecedent debt :  debt that is incurred prior to a property transfer paying or securing the debt — compare preference bad debt :  a debt that cannot be collected Editor's note: An income tax deduction is allowed for bad debts. consumer debt :  debt that is incurred by an individual primarily for the purchase of consumer goods or services — compare consumer credit judgment debt :  a debt established by a judgment and enforceable by a legal process (as an execution of judgment or attachment) c :  a state of owing in debt d :  the aggregate of money owed the national debt

  2. 2 :  the common-law action for the recovery of a specified sum of money or a sum that can be simply and certainly determined —called also action of debt, writ of debt — compare assumpsit, covenant

Origin and Etymology of debt

Old French dette, ultimately from Latin debita, plural of debitum debt, from neuter of debitus, past participle of debere to owe



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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

lacking social experience or grace

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!