Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something owed, such as money, goods, or services.
  • n. An obligation or liability to pay or render something to someone else.
  • n. The condition of owing: a young family always in debt.
  • n. An offense requiring forgiveness or reparation; a trespass.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An action, state of mind, or object one has an obligation to perform for another, adopt toward another, or give to another.
  • n. The state or condition of owing something to another.
  • n. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A duty neglected or violated; a fault; a sin; a trespass.
  • n. An action at law to recover a certain specified sum of money alleged to be due.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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. 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. An offense requiring reparation or expiation; default of duty: a trespass; a sin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of owing something (especially money)
  • n. an obligation to pay or do something
  • n. money or goods or services owed by one person to another

Etymologies

Middle English dette, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *dēbita, pl. of Latin dēbitum, debt, neuter past participle of dēbēre, to owe; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dett, 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"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When many Americans hear the term "debt ceiling," they compare it to the limit placed on their credit cards.

    Jonathan Miller: Debt Ceiling for Dummies: Why Compromise Is so Necessary

  • Our term debt maturity schedule including amortization and taking account of the $28 million revolver that matures in 2012 is now as follows; in 2011, $28 million; 2012, $153 million; 2013, $165 million and thereafter $357 million.

  • Using the term debt and $9.5 million (AUS$9.0 million) of revolver, combined with our cash of $1.6 million (AUS$1.5 million), we paid off our $105.8 million (AUS$100.5 million) of outstanding BOSI debt.

  • Keep in mind during the second quarter we utilized about $12.3 million of cash for principal payments on a term debt and about $15.5 million for capital expenditures and capital expenditures included about $5.5 million for corn oil extraction facilities and $3.7 million for progress payments for our grain storage projects.

  • Other income and expense in the quarter was a net expense of $17.1 million, approximately $4 million better than the original guidance for Q3, reflecting the lower interest rate on our term debt and the associated lower amortization of issuance costs and debt discount.

  • In Q3, we reduced our term debt principal by $12 million and our term debt loan balances is now down to $240 million.

  • In Q3, we renegotiated the terms as part of refinancing our term debt and now have more flexibility in our use of cash.

  • Going forward, our priorities for cash continue to be paying down the term debt and repurchasing stock opportunistically, as well as strategic M&A opportunities in adjacent businesses or to acquire key technologies.

  • Energy Future's term loan maturing in October 2017 traded at about 61.3 cents on the dollar yesterday, from 63.6 cents on Jan. 9, according to Markit Group Ltd. The term debt due in October 2014 was trading at 64.7 cents from 69 cents.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • That students should graduate from universities or colleges heavily in debt or that students shouldn't go on for a higher education because of the cost of incurring that kind of debt is simply incompatible with our capacity to compete with the newly rising Chinas and Indias of this world.

    The Direction I Want Canada to Take

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Comments

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  • Well done, now work on the other 'd' words. You will notice they also differ from each other.

    April 6, 2011

  • debt and deficit are not the same

    April 6, 2011

  • I like the last line as well. :-)

    October 8, 2008

  • 'First person: "Lovely weather we're having."

    Second person: "We'll pay for it later."'
    —Margaret Atwood, "Commentary: Our romance with debt—we'll pay for it later," seen here.

    October 8, 2008