- dette (obsolete)
From Middle English dette, dett, borrowed from Old French dete (French dette), from Medieval Latin dēbita, from Latin dēbitum (“what is owed, a debt, a duty”), neuter of dēbitus, perfect passive participle of dēbeō (“I owe”), contraction of *dehibeō (“I have from”), from de (“from”) + habeō (“I have”). Doublet of debit.
The unpronounced "b" in the modern English spelling is a Latinisation from the Latin etymon dēbitum.
debt (countable and uncountable, plural debts)
- 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.
- The state or condition of owing something to another.
- I am in your debt.
- 1594, William Shakespeare, Lucrece (First Quarto), London: […] Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, […], →OCLC:
- (finance) 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.
- 2004, Carlin, George, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, New York: Hyperion Books, →ISBN, →OCLC, →OL, page 213:
- I don't own any stocks or bonds. All my money is tied up in debt.
- (law) An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due
- acquisition debt
- bad debt
- bonded debt
- book debt
- carbon debt
- collateralized debt obligation
- debt bondage
- debt burden
- debt ceiling
- debt collection
- debt exchange
- debt instrument
- debt obligation
- debt of honor
- debt of honour
- debt of nature
- debt relief
- debt trap
- debt-equity ratio
- domestic debt
- external debt
- foreign debt
- in debt
- in someone's debt
- karmic debt
- mezzanine debt
- national debt
- nonfinancial debt
- odious debt
- oxygen debt
- pay nature's debt
- pay one's debt to society
- pay the debt of nature
- phantom debt
- privileged debt
- sleep debt
- sovereign debt
- tech debt
- technical debt
- toxic debt
- unsecured debt
- zombie debt
action, state of mind, or object one has an obligation to perform for another
state or condition of owing something to another
money that one person or entity owes or is required to pay to another
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- ^ 1859, Alexander Mansfield, Law Dictionary
- debt in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- debt in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- Alternative form of dette