Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: dette, from Latin debitum, from debere 'to owe'

debt

noun
     
debt S2 W2
1 [countable] a sum of money that a person or organization owes
debt of
This over-ambitious strategy has saddled them with debts of $3,000,000.
pay (off)/repay/clear/settle etc a debt
He had enough money to pay off his outstanding debts.
Romania is paying more and more to Western banks simply to service the debt (=pay it).
run up/amass debts
students who run up huge debts
2 [uncountable] when you owe money to someone [≠ credit]
in debt (to somebody)
Nearly half the students said they were in debt.
The band will be in debt to the record company for years.
£200/$1000 etc in debt
A rash business decision left him $600 in debt.
be heavily/deeply in debt (=owe a lot of money)
3 [countable usually singular] the degree to which you have learned from or been influenced by someone or something else
debt to
Braque acknowledged his debt to Impressionist painting.
4

debt of gratitude/thanks

the fact of being grateful to someone who has helped you:

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary