\ ˈlōn How to pronounce loan (audio) \

Definition of loan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : money lent at interest took out a loan to pay for the new car
b : something lent usually for the borrower's temporary use
2a : the grant of temporary use Can I have the loan of your car?
b : the temporary duty of a person transferred to another job for a limited time He had been on loan to the navy during the war.
3 : loanword The word "nosh" is a loan from Yiddish.


loaned; loaning; loans

Definition of loan (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from loan


loanable \ ˈlō-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce loan (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for loan

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Loan vs. Lend: Usage Guide


The verb loan is one of the words English settlers brought to America and continued to use after it had died out in Britain. Its use was soon noticed by British visitors and somewhat later by the New England literati, who considered it a bit provincial. It was flatly declared wrong in 1870 by a popular commentator, who based his objection on etymology. A later scholar showed that the commentator was ignorant of Old English and thus unsound in his objection, but by then it was too late, as the condemnation had been picked up by many other commentators. Although a surprising number of critics still voice objections, loan is entirely standard as a verb. You should note that it is used only literally; lend is the verb used for figurative expressions, such as "lending a hand" or "lending enchantment."

Examples of loan in a Sentence

Noun He got a car loan. He'll need several more years to pay off the rest of the loan. She needed money, so she asked her friend for a loan. Verb The National Gallery has been kind enough to loan this painting to our museum. His mother loaned him the money to buy a new car. Can you loan me $20?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If your business received a PPP loan in excess of $2 million, ponder these seven key questions on your SBA Form 3509. Eliza Haverstock, Forbes, "IRS Tax Surprises; College Health Grades A To D," 2 Mar. 2021 Rasheeda Creighton, another co-founder of the organization, said there are still limitations to the size of a loan a Black person can get. Deborah Kim, ABC News, "Black business owners must overcome obstacles to have a chance at building wealth," 1 Mar. 2021 In the meantime, the utility’s five-member board approved a plan late Monday to seek a $500 million bank loan to pay off half the bills and spread the cost over several years. Diego Mendoza-moyers, San Antonio Express-News, "CPS Energy - and ratepayers - owe $1 billion in winter storm bills," 1 Mar. 2021 The business also received a $106,000 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "State’s novel relief fund for Black Oregonians provided help to thousands even as it faced legal challenge: ‘It saved my life’," 28 Feb. 2021 Suárez played for Cimarrones de Sonora, Querétaro FC and Pumas UNAM in the top Mexican flights before signing a one-year loan with the Lions. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City terminates Jonathan Suárez contract following arrest," 28 Feb. 2021 Consumers who qualified for a personal loan in 2020 with excellent credit (720 or higher FICO) typically were approved for rates between 10.7% and 12.5%, according to NerdWallet marketplace data. cleveland, "Popular home improvement projects for 2021 - and how to pay for them," 28 Feb. 2021 When legislators failed to approve a loan last February to finance his security plan, Bukele marched with soldiers into the Legislative Assembly chamber, stirring traumatic memories of past dictatorships. Washington Post, "El Salavador’s leader looks to consolidate power in midterm vote; critics fear rising authoritarianism," 28 Feb. 2021 An eviction filing can follow a renter for years in much the same way bankruptcy impacts getting a home loan. Leon Stafford, ajc, "COVID-19 exposes the Black community’s long history of housing instability," 27 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Concordia Portland ran short of cash and, this time, the mother church declined to loan Concordia more money. oregonlive, "Concordia: How years of internal strife over gay rights helped turn it into a “$400 million crater”," 26 Feb. 2021 Paul Chavez agreed to loan the bronze bust of his father to President Joe Biden but had no idea where in the White House it would be placed, Darlene Superville with the Associated Press said. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, "Cesar Chavez's son says dad's bust in Oval office marks symbol of hope for the nation," 22 Jan. 2021 The government agreed to loan the funds in July in exchange for a 29.6% equity stake in the company. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trucker YRC Got 95% of All Covid-19 National Security Loan Funding," 14 Jan. 2021 Garcia said the state should loan the toxic substances department money to keep the cleanup going and repay it using existing fees on lead-acid batteries, rather than waiting for those funds to come in over time. Tony Barboza Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Auditor slams California for Exide cleanup delays, says cost could reach $650 million," 27 Oct. 2020 Because of that, and a similar precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hull Caballero said the auditor’s office wouldn’t enforce limits on how much candidates can loan their own campaign. oregonlive, "City of Portland lawyers won’t defend auditor in legal appeals of mayor’s campaign violations, City Council says," 15 Oct. 2020 The district already had enough laptops to loan to every student in the district, but officials knew many of them probably didn’t have internet access. Brian L. Frank For The Wall Street Journal, WSJ, "Schools Work to Speed Up Internet in Rural Homes for Remote Learning," 15 Dec. 2020 Some lenders may be hesitant to loan money to people who may be at risk of losing their job or an income cut due to the pandemic, so make sure your credit score is in good shape and that there aren’t errors in your credit report. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner, The Enquirer, "BusinessWise: Considerations when refinancing a home loan," 2 Nov. 2020 Now, Princess Beatrice has opened up about her decision to loan the iconic dress from the queen's closet. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Beatrice Gushes About Borrowing Her Wedding Gown from the Queen," 17 Oct. 2020

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


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1543, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for loan


Middle English lone "something lent or owing, divine gift," borrowed from Old Norse lán "something lent, fief," going back to Germanic *laihna- "something granted or lent" (whence also Old Frisian lēn "fief, benefice, something lent," Old Saxon lēhan "gift, fief," Old High German lēhan, lēn "something lent, feudal tenure, benefice," and, from a variant *laihni-, Old English lǣn "something lent, grant, gift"), noun derivative from the verb *līhwan- "to grant, lend" — more at delinquent entry 2

Note: Germanic *laihna- appears directly comparable with the Indo-Iranian s-stem represented by Vedic Sanskrit rékṇaḥ "inheritance, property," Avestan raēxənah- "inheritance," though it is uncertain if the Germanic word can also be derived from an s-stem. See note at delinquent entry 2.


derivative of loan entry 1

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Time Traveler for loan

Time Traveler

The first known use of loan was in the 12th century

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Statistics for loan

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Loan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for loan



English Language Learners Definition of loan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of money that is given to someone for a period of time with a promise that it will be paid back : an amount of money that is borrowed
somewhat formal : permission to use something for a period of time



English Language Learners Definition of loan (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (something) to (someone) for a period of time
chiefly US : to give (money) to (someone) who agrees to pay it back in the future


\ ˈlōn How to pronounce loan (audio) \

Kids Definition of loan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : money given with the understanding that it will be paid back
2 : something given for a time to a borrower That's not mine, it's a loan.
3 : permission to use something for a time May I have the loan of your car?


loaned; loaning

Kids Definition of loan (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give to another for temporary use with the understanding that the same or a like thing will be returned loan a book loan money



Legal Definition of loan

1a : money lent at interest
b : something lent usually for the borrower's temporary use
2 : a transfer or delivery of money from one party to another with the express or implied agreement that the sum will be repaid regardless of contingency and usually with interest broadly : the furnishing of something to another party for temporary use with the agreement that it or its equivalent will be returned the leasing of the car was termed a loan
bridge loan
: a short-term loan used as a means of financing a purchase or enterprise prior to obtaining other funds used a bridge loan to purchase a new home prior to the sale of the old one
conventional loan
: a loan for the purchase of real property that is secured by a first mortgage on the property rather than by any federal agency
demand loan
: a loan that is subject to repayment upon demand of the lender
home equity loan
: a loan or line of credit secured by the equity in one's home

called also equity loan, home equity line, home equity line of credit

— see also qualified residence interest at interest sense 5
loan for consumption \ -​kən-​ˈsümp-​shən \
: a loan in which the borrower is obligated to return property of the same kind as that borrowed and consumed used chiefly in the civil law of Louisiana ; — compare bailment, deposit, loan for use in this entry
loan for use
: a loan in which one party lends personal property to another with the understanding that the borrower will return the same property at a future time without compensation for its use : commodatum used chiefly in the civil law of Louisiana ; — compare bailment, deposit, loan for consumption in this entry
participation loan
: a single loan in which two or more lenders participate
term loan
: a loan extended to a business with provisions for repayment according to a schedule of amortization and usually for a period of one to five years and sometimes fifteen years

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