owe

verb
\ ˈō \
owed; owing

Definition of owe

transitive verb

1a archaic : possess, own
b : 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

intransitive verb

1 : to be in debt owes for his house
2 : to be attributable an idea that owes to Greek philosophy
owe it
: 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

What's missing between these two clauses is a clear delineation of what, if anything, Niantic will be owed by an outside publisher (or even an indie team publishing its game by itself) for use of Niantic's tools and platform. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokémon Go creators launch AR-game contest that (nearly) resembles American Idol," 21 Dec. 2018 Bruce, 31, is owed $28 million over the next two seasons. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "What’s next for the Mariners’ step back? Or is it, who’s next?," 5 Dec. 2018 At that time, Tinder all owed 13- to 17-year-olds to be on the app. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Swiping on Tinder is addictive. That’s partly because it was inspired by an experiment that ‘turned pigeons into gamblers.’," 19 Sep. 2018 America owed it to itself to embrace both strengths and ideals in decades of congressional service, ultimately as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John was an exponent of an America strong enough to its purpose. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Henry Kissinger's Eulogy for John McCain," 1 Sep. 2018 In the form of unpaid cab fare, a woman is owed $86.40 after driving someone from Sunny Isles to Coconut Creek. Dan White, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Coral Springs, Coconut Creek area crime reports," 12 July 2018 On average, parents owed $32,596 for their cumulative loans taken out under the Federal Parent PLUS program at college graduation in 2015-16. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Students aren't the only ones crushed by school debt," 11 July 2018 Worse than those numbers are these: The Orioles owe Davis $103.5 million through the 2022 season. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Some Orioles would look good in Phillies' red pinstripes | Extra Innings," 3 July 2018 MissionU would be free to attend, and graduates making at least $50,000 would owe 15 percent of their salary for three years. Lindsay Gellman, The Atlantic, "Code Now. Pay Tuition Later.," 30 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of owe

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

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for owe

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for owe

The first known use of owe was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for owe

owe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of owe

: 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

verb
\ ˈō \
owed; owing

Kids Definition of owe

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on owe

Spanish Central: Translation of owe

Nglish: Translation of owe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of owe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on owe

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