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Webster 1913 Edition


Debt

Debt

,
Noun.
[OE.
dette
, F.
dette
, LL.
debita
, fr. L.
debitus
owed, p. p. of
debere
to owe, prop., to have on loan;
de-
+
habere
to have. See
Habit
, and cf.
Debit
,
Due
.]
1.
That which is due from one person to another, whether money, goods, or services; that which one person is bound to pay to another, or to perform for his benefit; thing owed; obligation; liability.
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s
debt
.
Shakespeare
When you run in
debt
, you give to another power over your liberty.
Franklin.
2.
A duty neglected or violated; a fault; a sin; a trespass.
“Forgive us our debts.”
Matt. vi. 12.
3.
(Law)
An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due.
Burrill.
Bond debt
,
Book debt
,
etc. See under
Bond
,
Book
, etc.
Debt of nature
,
death.

Webster 1828 Edition


Debt

DEBT

,
Noun.
det.
[L. debitum, contracted.]

Definition 2022


debt

debt

English

Alternative forms

Noun

debt (plural debts)

  1. An action, state of mind, or object one has an obligation to perform for another, adopt toward another, or give to another.
    • 1589, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, act 1, scene 3:
      Revenge the jeering and disdain'd contempt / Of this proud king, who studies day and night / To answer all the debt he owes to you / Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, chapter 14, in The Scarlet Letter:
      This long debt of confidence, due from me to him, whose bane and ruin I have been, shall at length be paid.
  2. The state or condition of owing something to another.
    I am in your debt.
  3. Money that one person or entity owes or is required to pay to another, generally as a result of a loan or other financial transaction.
    • 1919, Upton Sinclair, chapter 15, in Jimmie Higgins:
      Bolsheviki had repudiated the four-billion-dollar debt which the government of the Tsar had contracted with the bankers.
    • 2013 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70:
      Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
  4. (law) An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)

Derived terms

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