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

  • intransitive verb To obtain or receive (something) on loan with the promise or understanding of returning it or its equivalent.
  • intransitive verb To adopt or use as one's own.
  • intransitive verb In subtraction, to take a unit from the next larger denomination in the minuend so as to make a number larger than the number to be subtracted.
  • intransitive verb Linguistics To adopt (a word) from one language for use in another.
  • intransitive verb To borrow something.
  • intransitive verb Linguistics To adopt words from one language for use in another.
  • idiom (borrow trouble) To take an unnecessary action that will probably engender adverse effects.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pledge or surety; bail; security: applied both to the thing given as security and to the person giving it: as, “with baile nor borrowe,”
  • noun A borrowing; the act of borrowing.
  • noun Cost; expense.
  • noun A tithing; a frank-pledge.
  • Nautical, to approach either land or the wind closely.
  • noun An obsolete form of borough.
  • noun Same as borrow-pit.
  • A term used specifically in organ-building: of a pipe which improperly takes the wind from another and sounds at the latter's expense; of a stop or set of pipes which is incomplete in itself, but which is filled out by using some of the pipes of another stop or set: within certain limits the latter arrangement is entirely legitimate, since it renders possible the use of the same pipes in two distinct connections.
  • In golf, when putting across sloping ground, to play the ball a little up the slope to counteract its effect.
  • To take or obtain (a thing) on pledge given for its return, or without pledge, but on the understanding that the thing obtained is to be returned, or an equivalent of the same kind is to be substituted for it; hence, to obtain the temporary use of: with of or from (formerly at): as, to borrow a book from a friend; to borrow money of a stranger.
  • To take or receive gratuitously from another or from a foreign source and apply to one's own use; adopt; appropriate; by euphemism, to steal or plagiarize: as, to borrow aid; English has many borrowed words; to borrow an author's style, ideas, or language.
  • To assume or usurp, as something counterfeit, feigned, or not real; assume out of some pretense.
  • To be surety for; hence, to redeem; ransom.
  • To practise borrowing; take or receive loans; appropriate to one's self what belongs to another or others: as, I neither borrow nor lend; he borrows freely from other authors.

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

  • noun obsolete Something deposited as security; a pledge; a surety; a hostage.
  • noun obsolete The act of borrowing.
  • transitive verb To receive from another as a loan, with the implied or expressed intention of returning the identical article or its equivalent in kind; -- the opposite of lend.
  • transitive verb (Arith.) To take (one or more) from the next higher denomination in order to add it to the next lower; -- a term of subtraction when the figure of the subtrahend is larger than the corresponding one of the minuend.
  • transitive verb To copy or imitate; to adopt.
  • transitive verb To feign or counterfeit.
  • transitive verb To receive; to take; to derive.
  • transitive verb to be needlessly troubled; to be overapprehensive.

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

  • noun archaic A ransom; a pledge or guarantee.
  • noun archaic A surety; someone standing bail.
  • verb To receive (something) from somebody temporarily, expecting to return it.
  • verb To adopt (an idea) as one's own.
  • verb linguistics To adopt a word from another language.
  • verb arithmetic In a subtraction, to deduct (one) from a digit of the minuend and add ten to the following digit, in order that the subtraction of a larger digit in the subtrahend from the digit in the minuend to which ten is added gives a positive result.
  • verb proscribed To lend.
  • verb US, dialect To temporarily obtain (something) for (someone).
  • noun golf Deviation of the path of a rolling ball from a straight line; slope; slant.

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

  • verb get temporarily
  • verb take up and practice as one's own


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

[Middle English borwen, from Old English borgian; see bhergh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English borg, from Proto-Germanic (related to Etymology 1, above).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English borwen, borȝien, Old English borgian ("to borrow, lend, pledge surety for"), from Proto-Germanic *burgōnan (“to pledge, take care of”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhergh- (“to take care”). Cognate with Dutch borgen ("to borrow, trust"), German borgen ("to borrow, lend"), Danish borge ("to vouch"). Related to Old English beorgan ("to save, preserve"). More at bury.


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