not solvent; unable to satisfy creditors or discharge liabilities, either because liabilities exceed assets or because of inability to pay debts as they mature.
pertaining to bankrupt persons or bankruptcy.


a person who is insolvent.

Origin of insolvent

First recorded in 1585–95; in-3 + solvent

Synonyms for insolvent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for insolvent

indebted, bankrupt, broke, strapped, failed, lost, broken, unbalanced, undone, busted

Examples from the Web for insolvent

Contemporary Examples of insolvent

  • For more than a year now, little Greece has been insolvent after its politicians recklessly piled up $467 billion in debt.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Europe’s Crisis Matters

    Stefan Theil

    July 21, 2011

  • The truth, as many experts have maintained, is that the leading banks are insolvent, and have been so for more than a year.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Geithner's Stress Test Sham

    Frank Partnoy

    May 7, 2009

  • As we have seen over the last 18 months, the latter is what near- insolvent banks do.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Does Obama Have a Plan B?

    Adam S. Posen

    March 29, 2009

  • And the reality is, if the subprime securities are truly trash, most of the big banks are troubled and some are insolvent.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Geithner Plan Won't Work

    James K. Galbraith

    March 24, 2009

Historical Examples of insolvent

British Dictionary definitions for insolvent



(of a person, company, etc) having insufficient assets to meet debts and liabilities; bankrupt
of or relating to bankrupts or bankruptcy


a person who is insolvent; bankrupt
Derived Formsinsolvency, noun
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 insolvent

1590s, "unable to pay one's debts," from in- (1) "not" + Latin solventem "paying" (see solvent). Originally of one who was not a trader; only traders could become bankrupt.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper