Definition of owe
1a archaic : possess, ownb : to have or bear (an emotion or attitude) to someone or something owes the boss a grudge owes his friend an apology They owe allegiance to their country. Children owe their parents respect.
2a (1) : to be under obligation to pay or repay in return for something received : be indebted in the sum of owes me $5 (2) : to be under obligation to render (something, such as duty or service) I owe you a favor. A lawyer owes her client legal advice.b : to be indebted to owes the grocer for supplies
3 : to be indebted for owed his wealth to his father owes much to good luck
1 : to be in debt owes for his house
2 : to be attributable an idea that owes to Greek philosophy
: to have a responsibility to do something to satisfy an obligation or duty owes it to voters to explain his reasons I owed it to her to give her this opportunity — Colin MacIness
Examples of owe in a Sentence
We owe no income tax.
I owe the bank a lot of money.
Additional payments are owed on the mortgage.
I still owe on the car.
I owe you a drink.
I owe you my thanks.
She still owes me for all the times I've helped her out.
Recent Examples of owe from the Web
And in part, some credit for Democratic unity is owed to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, not to mention the millions of progressive activists who have urged Democrats to hold the line against Trump and the GOP.
Paris Is Burning is a required reading, illuminating just how much of contemporary slang and culture, from vogueing to realness to throwing shade, owes a debt to these fearless queens.
Together, Day and Terra Nativa, LLP owed more than $62,000 in delinquent property taxes dating back to 2015.
For those who owe, Monday's successful bidders now hold liens against properties which must either be redeemed by the owners paying the taxes with interest to the lienholders, or the property could go to foreclosure.
Azima was a director, too, and owed the bank hundreds of thousands of dollars for outstanding loans to his airline.
The president owes him this much for all he’s done for him.
That peonies used to be relatively blight-free in our region (as opposed to Missouri) is owing to climate.
For one thing, an airplane travelling from coast to coast will—owing to the current setup—
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'owe'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of owe
Middle English, to possess, own, owe, from Old English āgan; akin to Old High German eigun (1st & 3rd plural present indicative) possess, Sanskrit īśe he possesses
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
OWE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of owe for English Language Learners
: to need to pay or repay money to a person, bank, business, etc.
: to need to do or give something to someone who has done something for you or given something to you
—used to say that something should be done for or given to someone
OWE Defined for Kids
Definition of owe for Students
1 : to be obligated to pay, give, or return I still owe 100 dollars. I don't owe any favors to anyone.
2 : to be in debt to You owe me money.
3 : to have as a result I owe my success to hard work.
Seen and Heard
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