\ 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 Over the course of the 30-year loan that’s a savings of $140,000. Lance Lambert, Fortune, 2 Aug. 2022 In contrast, the majority of mortgages issued in Germany, France and the U.S. have their rates fixed, either for the life of the loan or for many years. WSJ, 29 July 2022 The solution is expected to either extend the period of payment for Zambia or reduce the value of the loan for China. New York Times, 25 July 2022 My Way, which Letica bought in 2018 with the help of a loan from his bank. Heather Farmbrough, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Lamont said $30 million in federal rescue funding covers interest payments for the life of the loan, preventing special assessments on employers. Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant, 6 July 2022 Collateralizing loans with digital assets that are worth more than the principal of the loan was supposed to keep crypto lenders solvent in a crisis. Nate Dicamillo, Quartz, 21 June 2022 Up to 25% of that loan could be forgiven after three years, if the project meets its job creation goals. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 9 June 2022 As a result, officials estimate the owner of a home valued at $700,000 will pay about $255 a year more in property taxes over the 30-year life of the loan. Johanna Seltz,, 23 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s a fair point, but at a time when Elon Musk can find banks willing to loan him $25.5 billion to buy money-losing Twitter, surely there must be some large investors who see opportunity in the oil market. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 22 Apr. 2022 Within an hour, someone in D.C. who supports the Ukrainian fight showed up at her place to loan her a car. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 Gilbert's top lobbyist told some council members at a June 20 informational session that a bank is unwilling to loan Bedrock the $400 million unless the city approves the $60 million tax abatement. Detroit Free Press, 28 June 2022 After a falling out with the gallery’s director Reginald Poland in the late 1940s, the reclusive sisters decided instead to loan their increasing number of paintings to museums across the country. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2022 For countries that need additional support, GERM should fund or loan public health experts who would participate in this global pandemic-prevention network. Bill Gates, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 Ripley's also addressed questions circulating about their decision to loan out such a valuable dress in the first place. Alexandra Schonfeld,, 16 June 2022 Most important, the board could not loan money to the fiscal authorities, imposing a hard budget on Ceylon’s fiscal system. Steve H. Hanke, National Review, 19 Apr. 2022 If cost is a barrier, the Los Angeles Audubon Society will loan new birders binoculars during walks. Maya Richard-craven, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 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

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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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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 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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