debt·​or | \ ˈde-tər How to pronounce debtor (audio) \

Definition of debtor

1 : one guilty of neglect or violation of duty
2 : one who owes a debt

Examples of debtor in a Sentence

The debtor agrees to pay the debt over a three-year period.

Recent Examples on the Web

To celebrate the demise of the Saudi state and the liberation of the two holy mosques, the Ottoman sultan even released debtors from jail across his realm. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "The Long Struggle for Supremacy in the Muslim World," 26 Oct. 2018 An involuntary bankruptcy would normally halt other collection efforts against a debtor. Alexandra Berzon, WSJ, "Stormy Daniels Lawyer Michael Avenatti Dogged by His Own Legal Battles," 1 June 2018 The deal provides Parker Drilling with access to a $50 million debtor-in-possession loan and $50 million in bankruptcy exit financing, the company said. Jonathan Randles, WSJ, "Parker Drilling Files for Bankruptcy With Bondholder Deal in Place," 12 Dec. 2018 Cerberus Capital Management currently owns Remington, but the idea is for the company’s debtors to get equity in exchange for writing down those debts. David Meyer, Fortune, "A $75 Million Lifeline Means Bankrupt Remington Can Keep Making Guns For Now," 29 Mar. 2018 In bankruptcy, asset sales are supposed to maximize proceeds for a debtor. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Sears Bankruptcy Battle Tests Swaps Market," 19 Dec. 2018 But despite being in opposing parties, Rubio and Warren teamed up to put forward legislation helping student-loan debtors. Natalie Kitroeff,, "Bill would protect driving licenses in student loan defaults," 14 June 2018 In return, the Chinese real estate giant asked Jia to step away from the company, claiming that his status as a debtor in China was harming the progress of establishing Faraday Future’s brand and production efforts in China. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Federal court freezes Faraday Future CEO’s ownership stake, California mansions," 14 Dec. 2018 And the policy is already working, with one debtor paying a whopping $1 million to avoid passport issues. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Thousands of Americans May Be Blocked From Getting Passports If They Owe Taxes," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debtor.' 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 debtor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for debtor

Last Updated

29 May 2019

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Time Traveler for debtor

The first known use of debtor was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for debtor



Financial Definition of debtor

What It Is

A debtor is a person or entity legally required to provide a payment, service or other benefit to another person or entity (the obligee). Debtors are often also called borrowers or obligors in contracts.

How It Works

Companies that issue bonds are perhaps the most well-known debtors. They must provide their bondholders with set interest and principal payments on specified dates and in some cases must be willing to convert that debt into equity at specified ratios or repay the debt early if certain events occur.

However, a debtor also might be required to perform particular tasks or even refrain from performing certain actions. When a debtor fails to meet its obligations, the debtor is sometimes considered in default.

Why It Matters

Debtors are subject to contractual obligations. As such, if they do not fulfill their obligations, the creditors usually have the right to seek recourse in court. A significant amount of reputational damage can also occur when an entity, especially a public company, fails to meet its obligations. In some cases, even the speculation that a debtor might not fulfill its obligations can cause its stock price to go down and make it very difficult to obtain financing or other help later.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of debtor

: a person, organization, government, etc., that owes money


debt·​or | \ ˈde-tər How to pronounce debtor (audio) \

Kids Definition of debtor

: a person who owes a debt

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Legal Definition of debtor

: a person who owes a debt — see also bankrupt — compare creditor, obligee, obligor

Note: The Bankruptcy Act of 1978 calls the person concerned in a bankruptcy case the “debtor” as opposed to the “bankrupt.”

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More from Merriam-Webster on debtor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debtor

Spanish Central: Translation of debtor

Nglish: Translation of debtor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debtor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about debtor

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