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[det-er] /ˈdɛt ər/
a person who is in debt or under financial obligation to another (opposed to creditor).
Origin of debtor
1250-1300; Middle English detto(u)r < Anglo-French dett(o)ur, de(b)tour, Old French det(t)or < Latin dēbitōr-, stem of dēbitor, equivalent to dēbi-, variant stem of dēbēre (see debt) + -tor -tor
Related forms
nondebtor, noun
predebtor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for debtor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The creditor loses his usury and the debtor is acquitted of his obligation.

  • A thief, debtor, slanderer, or defamer may become the slave of the one he has wronged.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The watch, they said, was the property of a friend, who had handed it to my debtor that he might take it somewhere to be repaired.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • A debtor cannot become a slave, and parents in distress cannot sell their children.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • In case an execution on a debt was obtained from a local court the property remained in the hands of the debtor for eighty days.

British Dictionary definitions for debtor


a person or commercial enterprise that owes a financial obligation Compare creditor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debtor

early 13c., dettur, dettour, from Old French detour, from Latin debitor "a debter," from past participle stem of debere; see debt. The -b- was restored in later French, and in English c.1560-c.1660. The KJV has detter three times, debter three times, debtor twice and debtour once.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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debtor in the Bible

Various regulations as to the relation between debtor and creditor are laid down in the Scriptures. (1.) The debtor was to deliver up as a pledge to the creditor what he could most easily dispense with (Deut. 24:10, 11). (2.) A mill, or millstone, or upper garment, when given as a pledge, could not be kept over night (Ex. 22:26, 27). (3.) A debt could not be exacted during the Sabbatic year (Deut. 15:1-15). For other laws bearing on this relation see Lev. 25:14, 32, 39; Matt. 18:25, 34. (4.) A surety was liable in the same way as the original debtor (Prov. 11:15; 17:18).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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