• WordNet 3.6
    • n debt an obligation to pay or do something
    • n debt money or goods or services owed by one person to another
    • n debt the state of owing something (especially money) "he is badly in debt"
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Additional illustrations & photos:

Debtor and Creditor.—Seizure of Goods for a Debt Debtor and Creditor.—Seizure of Goods for a Debt

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1819, the USA purchased Florida from Spain for the cancellation of a $5 million debt
    • Debt A duty neglected or violated; a fault; a sin; a trespass. "Forgive us our debts ."
    • Debt (Law) An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due.
    • Debt 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 .""When you run in debt , you give to another power over your liberty."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In 1836 the U.S. government had so much extra money that it repaid all its debts, and still had money left over.
    • n debt That which is due from one person to another, whether money, goods, or services, and whether payable at present or at a future time; that which one person is bound to pay to or perform for another; what one is obliged to do or to suffer; a due; a duty; an obligation.
    • n debt The state of being under obligation to make payment, as of money or services, to another; figuratively, the state of being under obligation in general.
    • n debt An offense requiring reparation or expiation; default of duty: a trespass; a sin.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In Canada, if a debt is higher than 25 cents, it is illegal to pay it with pennies.
    • n Debt det what one owes to another: what one becomes liable to do or suffer: a state of obligation or indebtedness: a duty:
    • n Debt det (B.) a sin
    • ***


  • Saying
    “Loans and debts make worry and frets.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Solvency is maintained by means of a national debt, on the principle, If you will not lend me the money, how can I pay you?”
  • Mark Caine
    Mark Caine
    “There is nothing that puts a man more in your debt than that he owes you nothing.”
  • Euripides
    “But learn that to die is a debt we must all pay.”
  • Josh Billings
    “Never run into debt, not if you can find anything else to run into.”
  • Lord Byron
    “It is very iniquitous to make me pay my debts -- you have no idea of the pain it gives one.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. dette—L. debitum, debēre, to owe.


In literature:

You'll have to run into debt.
"Chester Rand" by Horatio Alger, Jr
Elizabeth had left behind her a war expenditure, and a debt of four hundred thousand pounds.
"History of the English People, Volume V (of 8)" by John Richard Green
And they do pay their debts, you see.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
He brought the whole island in debt to himself.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
The nation moreover, was burdened by the growth of the national debt.
"A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon" by John Lord
You may be sure that our debt to you is fully understood and will not be forgotten.
"Bradford's History of 'Plimoth Plantation'" by William Bradford
Settling down at Perth, he was imprisoned for debt, but gained his freedom and also a bounty for enrolling in the navy as a volunteer.
"William Pitt and the Great War" by John Holland Rose
The city was specially strong for him, for its merchants and traders owed him a deep debt of gratitude.
"The Political History of England - Vol. X." by William Hunt
But he did not wish to incur debts of which his father might hear.
"The Goose Man" by Jacob Wassermann
He is extravagant and in debt, and papa would not like it.
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope

In poetry:

Biancha, let
Me pay the debt
I owe thee for a kiss
Thou lend'st to me;
And I to thee
Will render ten for this.
"Kissing Usury" by Robert Herrick
The purchaser of night and woe,
The forfeiture of day,
The debt that ev'ry man did owe,
But only God could pay.
"The Believer's Principles : Chap. V." by Ralph Erskine
The wrath of God that was our due,
Upon the Lamb was laid;
And by the shedding of His blood,
The debt for us was paid.
"I Will Pass Over You" by Daniel Webster Moody
O can I e'er that day forget
When Jesus kindly spoke!
Poor soul, my blood has paid thy debt,
And now I break thy yoke.
"Humbled And Silenced" by John Newton
Thy Judge will ne'er demand of thee
Two payments for one debt;
Thee with one victim wholly free
Thy Husband kindly set.
"The Believer's Jointure : Chapter I." by Ralph Erskine
They say, "Who giveth to the poor,
Lends to the Lord," but yet,
They all seem varry anxious,
Net to get the Lord in debt.
"Old Dave To Th' New Parson" by John Hartley

In news:

The head of Germany's central bank says Greece will eventually need another debt write-off _ but it can't be offered one now and must first work though a long list of reforms.
According to a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the greatest threat to America's security is the national debt — now more than $16 trillion.
National debt a crushing issue.
Your editorial suggests that the US Postal Service is poorly managed, amassing debt and will need a taxpayer bail out.
In debt- burdened Europe, separatism on the rise.
One in five households burdened by student debt, a record.
The AMA offers services to help medical students and young physicians manage their debt burden .
His request to call lawmakers in support of a debt-ceiling solution requires a great faith that Americans know how to handle their own debt or can reconcile competing impulses about taxes and spending.
ASIDE from the empty chair that Clint Eastwood debated, the main prop at the Republican convention was a debt clock, highlighting the federal deficit and the growing national debt.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation said Monday that holders of most of the debt among three classes of securities have executed a so-called restructuring support agreement related to the debt.
Rolling Jubilee and go live this week – a plan to buy up distressed debt in the secondary markets and then to strike it out, relieving hard-pressed individuals of their debt.
If he does decide to stop paying on these accounts, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that he can request in writing not to be contacted about the debt again.
It could be that you father would qualify to repay his credit card debt through a debt management plan.
But the idea of using the debt ceiling, threatening default in the strongest debt in the world, Treasury securities issued by the strongest government in the world, simply was a big mistake.
In the third quarter of 2011, mortgage delinquencies saw their first uptick in six quarters, largely fueled by concerns over the economy as lawmakers were debating the US debt ceiling and Europe's debt crisis was unfolding.

In science:

In the Qur’an, the prophet Muhammad (AD 570–AD 632) explicitly indicated the so-called doubling debt scenario as being against God’s will (Verse 3:130), though without suggesting the need of earthly punishments for those who claim or receive such an excessive interest.
Interest prohibition and financial product innovation
Moderation involves the imposition of upper bounds to interest rates and to the size of loans, both essential to avoid that people destroy their lives by accepting too large debts.
Interest prohibition and financial product innovation
Second, the model can estimate the timing of a default event given its debt tra jectory.
The European debt crisis: Defaults and market equilibrium
Default becomes certain as the country debt approaches the debt threshold.
The European debt crisis: Defaults and market equilibrium
FIG. 1: Test of equilibrium market model of default - Greece’s debt ratio Rt (blue dots) as a function of the parameter Xt , which reflects annually-averaged long-term interest rates.
The European debt crisis: Defaults and market equilibrium