to take or obtain with the promise to return the same or an equivalent: Our neighbor borrowed my lawn mower.
to use, appropriate, or introduce from another source or from a foreign source: to borrow an idea from the opposition; to borrow a word from French.
Arithmetic. (in subtraction) to take from one denomination and add to the next lower.
to borrow something: Don't borrow unless you intend to repay.
to sail close to the wind; luff.
to sail close to the shore.
Golf. to putt on other than a direct line from the lie of the ball to the hole, to compensate for the incline or roll of the green.
Idioms about borrow
borrow trouble, to do something that is unnecessary and may cause future harm or inconvenience.
- bor·row·a·ble, adjective
- bor·row·er, noun
- non·bor·rowed, adjective
- non·bor·row·er, noun
- o·ver·bor·row, verb
- un·bor·rowed, adjective
Other definitions for Borrow (2 of 2)
George, 1803–81, English traveler, writer, and student of languages, especially Romani.
- Bor·ro·vi·an [buh-roh-vee-uhn], /bəˈroʊ vi ən/, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use borrow in a sentence
They uncovered evidence that he had dipped into his clients’ insurance premiums for his own uses and borrowed money to keep his real estate business afloat.
This is not to single you out, “Navigating,” just borrowing you to make a larger point that’s been bugging me a lot lately.Carolyn Hax: What if your daughter and her BFF were really just BFs? | Carolyn Hax | February 25, 2021 | Washington Post
This task was borrowed from an old experiment that asked lab subjects to turn little wooden pegs.
Mobile lending apps have become an easy source of credit for Kenyans who don’t have accounts with banks and other traditional financial institutions, or the regular income needed to borrow from such establishments.Kenya is preparing to crack down on a flood of high-interest loan apps | Carlos Mureithi | February 22, 2021 | Quartz
Then again, the glory of American cuisine is the way it borrows from other cultures and comes up with something all its own.Fresh reasons to return to 1789, one of D.C.’s oldest restaurants | Tom Sietsema | February 19, 2021 | Washington Post
To borrow an old right-wing talking point, these people are angry no matter what we do.
The rapid rise of the sharing economy is changing the way people around the world commute, shop, vacation, and borrow.Why Do ‘Progressives’ Want to Ban Uber and AirBnB? | Adam Thierer, Christopher Koopman | December 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“I have coordinated with our foreign minister so we will borrow from other countries which have offered,” he said.The Presumed Crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Is Nothing Like MH370 | Lennox Samuels | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Much of what passes for political coverage these days is (to borrow a phrase) “bad Chucky.”
These marriages are “facts on the ground,” to borrow a phrase from the conflict in the Middle East.
At the reserve bank they may borrow as a standing right and not as a favor which may be cut off.Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
Germany invests money abroad, but she seems to borrow as much, and more, in the discount markets of London and Paris.Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
"I can't borrow money—I can't—I don't know how to do it," said Brammel peevishly.
The human species,” Charles Lamb says, “is composed of two distinct races, the men who borrow and the men who lend.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
I may record here that each of my assistants has since, to borrow an Americanism, “made good.”Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
British Dictionary definitions for borrow (1 of 2)
to obtain or receive (something, such as money) on loan for temporary use, intending to give it, or something equivalent or identical, back to the lender
to adopt (ideas, words, etc) from another source; appropriate
not standard to lend
golf to putt the ball uphill of the direct path to the hole
(intr) golf (of a ball) to deviate from a straight path because of the slope of the ground
golf a deviation of a ball from a straight path because of the slope of the ground: a left borrow
material dug from a borrow pit to provide fill at another
living on borrowed time
living an unexpected extension of life
close to death
- borrower, noun
British Dictionary definitions for Borrow (2 of 2)
George (Henry). 1803–81, English traveller and writer. His best-known works are the semiautobiographical novels of Gypsy life and language, Lavengro (1851) and its sequel The Romany Rye (1857)
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with borrow
In addition to the idiom beginning with borrow
- borrow trouble
- beg, borrow, or steal
- on borrowed time
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.