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Owe definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

OWE, v.t. o. [Gr., Eng. own.]
1. To be indebted; to be obliged or bound to pay. The merchants owe a large sum to foreigners.
A son owes help and honor to his father.
One was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
Matthew 18.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. Romans 13.
2. To be obliged to ascribe to; to be obliged for; as, that he may owe to me all his deliverance.
3. To possess; to have; to be the owner of. [This is the original sense, but now obsolete. In place of it, we use own, from the participle. See Own.]
Thou dost here usurp the name thou owest not.
4. To be due or owing.
O deem thy fall not ow'd to man's decree.
[This passive form is not now used.]
OWE, v.i. To be bound or obliged.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: be obliged to pay or repay
2: be indebted to, in an abstract or intellectual sense; "This new theory owes much to Einstein's Relativity Theory"
3: be in debt; "She owes me $200"; "I still owe for the car"; "The thesis owes much to his adviser"

Merriam Webster's

verb (owed; owing) Etymology: Middle English, to possess, own, owe, from Old English ?gan; akin to Old High German eigun (1st & 3d plural present indicative) possess, Sanskrit ??e he possesses Date: before 12th century transitive verb 1. a. archaic possess, own b. to have or bear (an emotion or attitude) to someone or something <owes the boss a grudge> 2. a. (1) to be under obligation to pay or repay in return for something received ; be indebted in the sum of <owes me $5> (2) to be under obligation to render (as duty or service) <I owe you a favor> b. to be indebted to <owes the grocer for supplies> 3. to be indebted for <owed his wealth to his father> <owes much to good luck> intransitive verb 1. to be in debt <owes for his house> 2. to be attributable <an idea that owes to Greek philosophy>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

v.tr. 1 a be under obligation (to a person etc.) to pay or repay (money etc.) (we owe you five pounds; owe more than I can pay). b (absol., usu. foll. by for) be in debt (still owe for my car). 2 (often foll. by to) render (gratitude etc., a person honour, gratitude, etc.) (owe grateful thanks to). 3 (usu. foll. by to) be indebted to a person or thing for (we owe to Newton the principle of gravitation). Phrases and idioms: owe a person a grudge cherish resentment against a person. owe it to oneself (often foll. by to + infin.) need (to do) something to protect one's own interests. Etymology: OE agan (see OUGHT(1)) f. Gmc

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Owe Owe, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Owed, (Oughtobs.); p. pr. & vb. n. Owing.] [OE. owen, awen,aghen, to have, own, have (to do), hence, owe, AS. [=a]gan to have; akin to G. eigen, a., own, Icel. eiga to have, Dan. eie, Sw. ["a]ga, Goth. ['a]igan, Skr. ?. ????. Cf. Ought, v., 2d Own, Fraught.] 1. To possess; to have, as the rightful owner; to own. [Obs.] Thou dost here usurp The name thou ow'st not. --Shak. 2. To have or possess, as something derived or bestowed; to be obliged to ascribe (something to some source); to be indebted or obliged for; as, he owed his wealth to his father; he owed his victory to his lieutenants. --Milton. O deem thy fall not owed to man's decree. --Pope. 3. Hence: To have or be under an obigation to restore, pay, or render (something) in return or compensation for something received; to be indebted in the sum of; as, the subject owes allegiance; the fortunate owe assistance to the unfortunate. The one ought five hundred pence, and the other fifty. --Bible (1551). A son owes help and honor to his father. --Holyday. Note: Owe was sometimes followed by an objective clause introduced by the infinitive. ``Ye owen to incline and bow your heart.'' --Chaucer. 4. To have an obligation to (some one) on account of something done or received; to be indebted to; as, to iwe the grocer for supplies, or a laborer for services.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(owes, owing, owed) Frequency: The word is one of the 3000 most common words in English. 1. If you owe money to someone, they have lent it to you and you have not yet paid it back. You can also say that the money is owing. The company owes money to more than 60 banks... Blake already owed him nearly 50... I'm broke, Livy, and I owe a couple of million dollars... He could take what was owing for the rent. VERB: V n to n, V n n, V n, V 2. If someone or something owes a particular quality or their success to a person or thing, they only have it because of that person or thing. He owed his survival to his strength as a swimmer... I owe him my life. VERB: no passive, V n to n, V n n 3. If you say that you owe a great deal to someone or something, you mean that they have helped you or influenced you a lot, and you feel very grateful to them. As a professional composer I owe much to Radio 3... He's been fantastic. I owe him a lot. VERB: V amount to n, V n amount 4. If you say that something owes a great deal to a person or thing, you mean that it exists, is successful, or has its particular form mainly because of them. The island's present economy owes a good deal to whisky distilling... VERB: V amount to n 5. If you say that you owe someone gratitude, respect, or loyalty, you mean that they deserve it from you. (FORMAL) Perhaps we owe these people more respect... I owe you an apology. You must have found my attitude very annoying... I owe a big debt of gratitude to her. VERB: V n n, V n n, V n to n 6. If you say that you owe it to someone to do something, you mean that you should do that thing because they deserve it. I can't go. I owe it to him to stay... You owe it to yourself to get some professional help... Of course she would have to send a letter; she owed it to the family. VERB: no passive, V it to n to-inf, V it to pron-refl to-inf, V it to n 7. You use owing to when you are introducing the reason for something. Owing to staff shortages, there was no restaurant car on the train. PREP-PHRASE: PREP n

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

v. a. 1. Be indebted to, be bound to pay. 2. Be obliged to ascribe to, be obliged for, have to attribute to. 3. Be due, be owing.

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