owe

verb
\ ˈō How to pronounce owe (audio) \
owed; owing

Definition of owe

transitive verb

1a(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
2 : to be indebted for owed his wealth to his father owes much to good luck
3a : 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.
b archaic : possess, own

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

Leaving your AirPods in while ordering at Starbucks is rude, because the barista at the counter is owed some common courtesy. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Case for Wearing AirPods All the Time," 5 June 2019 But having not actually terminated Sarri's contract at Stadio San Paolo, Napoli insisted they were still owed compensation and Chelsea had little choice but to cough up. SI.com, "Maurizio Sarri Move to Juventus 'Stalls' as Chelsea Refuse to Budge Over Compensation," 5 June 2019 Pekau alleges that Joe La Margo, former village manager, overstepped his spending authority in hiring the law firm, which had been paid for a portion of its work but was still owed about $36,000. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Orland Park OKs payment of legal bill," 4 June 2019 Four of the creditors who were collectively owed more than $200,000 also filed a petition in federal bankruptcy court in Seattle last October, seeking to force Global Baristas into bankruptcy. James Queally, The Seattle Times, "Lawyer Michael Avenatti, accused of fraud and attempts to extort Nike, is arrested," 25 Mar. 2019 But the settlement is far less than the tens of millions of dollars Mr. Kaepernick, especially, would have likely been owed if his grievance had prevailed. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "NFL Paid Under $10 Million to Settle Colin Kaepernick Grievance," 21 Mar. 2019 This is certainly good news for Mars One's investors, who are owed in excess of $1 million and might actually recoup their money this way. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A Mystery Investor May Save the Bankrupt Mars One Mission," 12 Feb. 2019 Black women are owed apologies for our daily navigation of spaces that require us to be anxiously preoccupied with how our actions could be viewed by others. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams Demanded the Apology All Black Women Deserve," 10 Sep. 2018 In upholding Benedict’s decision, Ollie’s dispute with UConn, at which the more than $10 million he would be owed on his contract, goes to arbitration. Dom Amore, courant.com, "UConn President Says 'Substantial Evidence' Kevin Ollie, Staff Violated NCAA Rules," 25 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 3b

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

11 Jun 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 How to pronounce owe (audio) \
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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