from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A promise to pay a debt, especially a signed paper stating the specific amount owed and often bearing the letters IOU.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A memorandum or acknowledgment of debt less formal than a promissory note, and in England sometimes containing only these letters, with the sum owed and the signature of the debtor. It is not a promissory note, because no direct promise to pay is expressed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • A paper having on it these letters, with a sum named, and duly signed; -- in use in England as an acknowledgment of a debt, and taken as evidence thereof, but not amounting to a promissory note; a due bill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • initialism I owe you.
  • noun An informal written note promising to pay the stated sum.

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

  • noun an informal debt instrument; representing `I owe you'


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

[From the pronunciation of I owe you.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the pronunciation of "I owe you", not the initial letters.


  • Campbell's campaign, meanwhile, said the endorsement is nothing more than an "IOU from the 2008 election cycle."

    Palin irks her supporters with California endorsement

  • A prediction from this guy is about as dependable as an IOU from the mob.

    Cheney makes big 2010 prediction

  • A middle class person working everyday and after filing taxes, instead of their legal tax refund (if owed one) they will receive a IOU from the state.

    Cash-poor California turns to IOUs

  • Whew there is a Social Security surplus, the extra money is put in the general fund, and in exchange SS is given a non-marketable security for that amount (basically an IOU from the government to itself).

    Matthew Yglesias » Saving Money vs Spending Less Money

  • European banks also depend heavily on so-called wholesale funding—borrowing in a short-term IOU market—to fund dollar-denominated loans and securities positions.

    Global Markets Skittish About Europe's Banks

  • KKR Financial invested in Alt-A loans that range between prime and subprime and funded those purchases largely by issuing commercial paper, short-term IOU's typically issued only to the most creditworthy borrowers.

    KKR Financial Increases

  • Adding to the credit crunch: Commercial paper, a type of short-term IOU that banks use to raise cash and thus a cog of daily banking operations, is finding little demand among investors.

    Wells Fargo Eyes Wachovia;

  • Also Anita and I were worried about the anti-intellectual attitudes towards the University of California expressed by the state legislature, worries that proved well-founded when a few years later salaries were capped, teaching loads were increased, and the state budget was not passed on time, causing faculty to be paid in IOU's.

    Robert B. Laughlin - Autobiography

  • US dollars are created when the Treasury issues a bond, in other words an IOU or a debt and it gets sold on the open market.

    Crooks and Liars

  • Commercial paper, which helps lubricate the flow of business operations, is a short-term IOU available to corporations that banks usually know are good for the money.

    Taipei Times


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.