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 Several of the lawyers' debtor victims have turned into plaintiffs. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr. 2022 Apollo, which led the debtor-in-possession financing, will retain a 22.38% stake while Delta will have 20%. Steven Church,, 27 Jan. 2022 Rahim, the poor debtor, becomes a hero, but not for long. Ana Maria Bahiana, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Jan. 2022 Lenders and international bond markets have begun to view Bukele and, by extension, El Salvador as a risky debtor. Camille Squires, Quartz, 27 Jan. 2022 In India an unpaid creditor could show up at his debtor’s door, sit on his doorstep, and stay there, indefinitely, publicly starving to death until he was given what he was owed. Kristin Collier, Longreads, 1 Dec. 2021 Debt swaps also carry some risks, both for debtor countries and for the climate, said Shakira Mustapha, a public finance research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, a UK think tank. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 9 July 2021 Pre-existing international mechanisms for dealing with sovereign-debt restructuring—particularly the Paris Club, where a voluntary grouping of official lenders negotiate with debtor countries—have become muddled and ineffective. William R. Rhodes And John Lipsky, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2022 Yet as the debtor, Purdue conducted a forensic accounting of all of its assets, including the billions withdrawn by the Sacklers. Jan Hoffman,, 16 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of debtor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for debtor

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near debtor

debt of record


debtor nation

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Statistics for debtor

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Debtor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for debtor


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

Kids Definition of debtor

: a person who owes a debt



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.”

More from Merriam-Webster on debtor

Nglish: Translation of debtor for Spanish Speakers

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


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