debt·​or ˈde-tər How to pronounce debtor (audio)
: one guilty of neglect or violation of duty
: 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 Only, the debtors weren’t around anymore to pay up. Sarah Chihaya, The New Yorker, 19 June 2024 In other words, the United States was a net debtor to the rest of the world to the tune of $6 trillion in 2014—and that amount has tripled over the last decade. Eswar Prasad, Foreign Affairs, 18 June 2024 In this case, the Trump judgment debtors own real estate, such as the 40 Wall St. office tower, the Mar-a-Lago Club, hotels, golf courses and other holdings. Adam Pollock, New York Daily News, 24 Mar. 2024 Convict leasing, also called peonage, juxtaposed the infrastructure of the Old English debtor’s prison with the barbarism of chattel slavery to bolster American capitalism. Phillip Vance Smith, JSTOR Daily, 1 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for debtor 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'debtor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near debtor

Cite this Entry

“Debtor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


debt·​or ˈdet-ər How to pronounce debtor (audio)
: sinner
: one that owes a debt

Legal Definition


: 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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