\ 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)

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If someone was rejected for a mortgage and then later defaulted on another loan, that suggests the bank was right to reject them. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, 19 May 2022 Another risk is that if home values decline, the homeowner could owe more on the loan than the property is worth. Brian J. O’connor, WSJ, 19 May 2022 The cloth is among many pieces in the exhibition that are on loan from London’s Karun Thakar, one of the world’s leading private textile collectors. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 By the time the company moved into its 25,000-square-foot space in May 1982 and closed on the loan, rates had jumped to 21%. Ethan Karp, Forbes, 18 May 2022 Today, Kate Middleton seems to have it on loan from the Queen, as she’s been spotted wearing it multiple times in recent years. Jennifer Newman, Town & Country, 17 May 2022 At the North East Motor Sports Museum, cars, motorcycles, and other artifacts are on loan from private owners. Pamela Wright,, 12 May 2022 Two of the notebooks are owned by the Center, and a third with the near-final lyrics is on loan from the Morgan Library & Museum. Chris Willman, Variety, 10 May 2022 He was acquired by the club on loan from FC Cincinnati in 2019 and played in 14 games with a goal. Hartford Courant, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb House investigators found that the Trump administration dismissed objections by Pentagon officials to loan $700 million in pandemic aid to a trucking company. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2022 The mask itself, though, was absent, because its guardians at the British Museum had refused to loan it. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2022 On the surface, Cruz is asking the high court to strike down an obscure provision of law that dictates what happens when candidates loan money to their own campaigns. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2022 Tutankhamun again served as a diplomat in the seventies, when Egypt, which had previously declined to loan any of his treasures to the United Kingdom, offered some for an exhibition at the British Museum. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 7 Feb. 2022 Storey has worked with Oxford schools to loan BAS therapy dogs to the Oxford students. Elissa Welle, Detroit Free Press, 26 Jan. 2022 Menne offered to loan the Long Beach resident a laptop battery, but Watler insisted on paying him for it. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2022 Neighbors would loan a few dinars, share groceries, and cook for each other’s weddings. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Feb. 2022 City Colleges also loan out laptops to students for 60 days at a time. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near loan

loam mold



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Statistics for loan

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for loan


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on loan

Nglish: Translation of loan for Spanish Speakers

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


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