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 formsnon·debt·or, nounpre·debt·or, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for debtor

Contemporary Examples of debtor

  • But that means that the debtor will be on the hook for somewhere around 25% of the forgiven debt.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Ask the Blogger

    Megan McArdle

    December 3, 2012

  • Bartleby ends in debtor's prison, where the lawyer visits him and finds him - dead.

    The Daily Beast logo
    David's Bookclub: Bartleby the Scrivener

    David Frum

    November 26, 2012

  • Given all that, the chances of the IRS coming after the debtor for income tax on the forgiven debt are exactly zero.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Debt and Taxes

    Megan McArdle

    November 14, 2012

  • In Europe the principal divide that has opened is among countries, with debtor nations pitted against creditor nations.

  • The document gave Billings claim to all personal property, bank accounts, and future earnings of the debtor.

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    New Suspect in Florida Killings

    Rick Outzen

    July 23, 2009

Historical Examples of debtor

British Dictionary definitions for debtor



a person or commercial enterprise that owes a financial obligationCompare 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

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