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

  • adj. Unable to meet debts or discharge liabilities; bankrupt.
  • adj. Insufficient to meet all debts, as an estate or fund.
  • adj. Of or relating to bankrupt persons or entities.
  • n. A bankrupt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unable to pay one's bills as they fall due.
  • adj. Owing more than one has in assets.
  • n. One who is insolvent; an insolvent debtor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not solvent; not having sufficient estate to pay one's debts; unable to pay one's debts as they fall due, in the ordinary course of trade and business.
  • adj. Not sufficient to pay all the debts of the owner.
  • adj. Relating to persons unable to pay their debts.
  • n. One who is insolvent; as insolvent debtor; -- in England, before 1861, especially applied to persons not traders.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not solvent; unable or inadequate to satisfy all claims; bankrupt: as, an insolvent debtor or estate.
  • Of or respecting insolvency or bankruptcy: as, insolvent laws.
  • n. A debtor who is not solvent. See insolvency.

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

  • n. someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts
  • adj. unable to meet or discharge financial obligations


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • My reading of most of the comments here is that stockholders in insolvent enterprises – i.e., holders of worthless assets – should expect to paid market value - i.e., nothing – if the government nationalizes the enterprise.

    Matthew Yglesias » The Grain

  • What we appear to be doing is propping up insolvent banks, which remain insolvent, until the situation becomes sufficiently dire again that they need more taxpayer funds.

    The Bailout and Nationalization

  • Tribune's exit from bankruptcy has been delayed in part by claims that investor Sam Zell 's $8.2 billion leveraged buyout of Tribune in 2007 was flawed and rendered the company insolvent from the start.

    Tribune Set to Name Caretaker Managers

  • Germany's insistence that in the medium term insolvent countries should have their debts restructured.

    The Economist: Correspondent's diary

  • DW-WORLD: Failed bond swap leaves Escada fashion label insolvent

    Deutsche Welle: DW-WORLD.DE

  • The city must also prove to a federal bankruptcy judge that it is technically insolvent, which isn't clear cut in Harrisburg's case, legal experts say.

    Capital Files for Bankruptcy

  • If this is indeed the way in which the stress tests play out in the end, then the Obama administration will have missed a golden opportunity to label insolvent banks as such, and thereby justify taking them over and breaking them up.

    Wonk Room » How Does A Bank ‘Pass’ A Stress Test, Yet Still Require ‘Exceptional Assistance’?

  • Even if 1% of the derivatives pyramid loses counterparties because they have become insolvent, that is more than 10 trillion dollars of a black hole.

    Derivatives Quadrillion Play: How Far Away Are We From A Second Financial Crisis?

  • What happens if/when Greenwich Council starts trading insolvent - insolvent, that is, unless it increases the Council Tax by some unreasonably stratospheric amount to make up the shortfall caused by the Council's own incompetence?

    It's only £400,000 after all!

  • In a statement, he said, "We cannot be classified as insolvent when we have a healthy cash-flow, and we can pay for our crude and product importation obligations."

    AllAfrica News: Latest


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