Dictionary.com

owe

[ oh ]
/ oʊ /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: owe / owed / owing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), owed, ow·ing.

to be under obligation to pay or repay: to owe money to the bank; to owe the bank interest on a mortgage.
to be in debt to: He says he doesn't owe anybody.
to be indebted (to) as the cause or source of: to owe one's fame to good fortune.
to have or bear (a feeling or attitude) toward someone or something: to owe gratitude to one's rescuers.
Obsolete. to possess; own.

verb (used without object), owed, ow·ing.

to be in debt: Neither lend nor owe. Who owes for the antipasto?

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!

Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of owe

before 900; Middle English owen to possess, be under obligation, have to pay; Old English āgan to possess; cognate with Old High German eigan,Old Norse eiga.See own, ought1
1. O, oh, owe 2. ode, owed
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for owe

owe
/ (əʊ) /

verb (mainly tr)

to be under an obligation to pay (someone) to the amount of
(intr) to be in debthe still owes for his house
(often foll by to) to have as a result (of)he owes his success to chance
to feel the need or obligation to do, give, etcto owe somebody thanks; to owe it to oneself to rest
to hold or maintain in the mind or heart (esp in the phrase owe a grudge)
Old English āgan to have (C12: to have to); related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old High German eigan
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
What's This Word?