verb (used with object), owed, ow·ing.
verb (used without object), owed, ow·ing.
Origin of owe
Examples from the Web for owe
That they got one may owe something to the organization's political connections.
We exclude Catholics because they owe allegiance to an institution that is foreign to the Government of the United States.A Brief History of Wingnuts in America; From George Washington to Woodstock|John Avlon|August 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
His last words were, “Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius.”What Did TJ Mean By “Pursuit of Happiness,” Anyway?|P. J. O’Rourke|June 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Well, we all owe it to this generation of people, who worked so hard to give us the rights that we have today.Matt Bomer Tells the Personal Story Behind His Heartbreaking ‘Normal Heart’ Performance|Kevin Fallon|May 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
We owe it to our young and vulnerable patients to use these medications sparingly and judiciously.Why Giving Adderall to Toddlers Is So Completely, Utterly Wrong|Russell Saunders|May 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
To those who have been unfortunate let me say frankly that they owe it to themselves.
Well did he owe it to this Virgin for having saved him from his last goring.The Blood of the Arena|Vicente Blasco Ibez
I owe all my desires and all my hopes and all my present attainments to the boundless goodness of God.My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year|John Henry Jowett
I say nothing of the fact that you owe us your life; that may be a small enough gift, and one quickly withdrawn.The Sky Is Falling|Lester del Rey
I owe you both some return for the patience you have shown my varying moods.Professor Huskins|Lettie M. Cummings
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for owe
Old English agan (past tense ahte) "to have, own," from Proto-Germanic *aiganan "to possess" (cf. Old Frisian aga, Old Norse eiga, Old High German eigan, Gothic aigan "to possess, have"), from PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess" (cf. Sanskrit ise "he owns," isah "owner, lord, ruler;" Avestan is- "riches," isvan- "well-off, rich").
Sense of "to have to repay" began in late Old English with the phrase agan to geldanne literally "to own to yield," which was used to translate Latin debere (earlier in Old English this would have been sceal "shall"); by late 12c. the phrase had been shortened to simply agan, and own (v.) took over this word's original sense.