Definition of debt noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//det//
    ; NAmE NAmE//det//
    Economy, Banking
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  1. 1  [countable] a sum of money that somebody owes I need to pay off all my debts before I leave the country. an outstanding debt of £300 He had run up credit card debts of thousands of dollars. Wordfindercredit, debt, deposit, interest, lend, loan, money, mortgage, overdraft, risk CollocationsFinanceIncome earn money/​cash/(informal) a fortune make money/​a fortune/(informal) a killing on the stock market acquire/​inherit/​amass wealth/​a fortune build up funds/​savings get/​receive/​leave (somebody) an inheritance/​a legacy live on a low wage/​a fixed income/​a pension get/​receive/​draw/​collect a pension depend/​be dependent on (British English) benefits/(North American English) welfare/​social securityExpenditure spend money/​your savings/(informal) a fortune on… invest/​put your savings in… throw away/​waste/ (informal) shell out money on… lose your money/​inheritance/​pension use up/ (informal) wipe out all your savings pay (in) cash use/​pay by a credit/​debit card pay by/​make out a/​write somebody a/​accept a (British English) cheque/(US English) check change/​exchange money/​currency/(British English) traveller’s cheques/(US English) traveler’s checks give/​pay/​leave (somebody) a depositBanks have/​hold/​open/​close/​freeze a bank account/​an account credit/​debit/​pay something into/​take money out of your account deposit money/​funds in your account withdraw money/​cash/£30 from an ATM, etc. (formal) make a deposit/​withdrawal find/​go to/​use (especially North American English) an ATM/(British English) a cash machine/​dispenser be in credit/​in debit/​in the black/​in the red/​overdrawnPersonal finance manage/​handle/​plan/​run/ (especially British English) sort out your finances plan/​manage/​work out/​stick to a budget offer/​extend credit (to somebody) arrange/​take out a loan/​an overdraft pay back/​repay money/​a loan/​a debt pay for something in (especially British English) instalments/(usually North American English) installmentsFinancial difficulties get into debt/​financial difficulties be short of/ (informal) be strapped for cash run out of/​owe money face/​get/ (informal) be landed with a bill for £… can’t afford the cost of…/payments/​rent fall behind with/ (especially North American English) fall behind on the mortgage/​repayments/​rent incur/​run up/​accumulate debts tackle/​reduce/​settle your debts See related entries: Economy, Banking
  2. 2  [uncountable] the situation of owing money, especially when you cannot pay He died heavily in debt. The club is £4 million in debt. We were poor but we never got into debt. It's hard to stay out of debt when you are a student. a country’s foreign debt burden see also bad debt
  3. 3[countable, usually singular] the fact that you should feel grateful to somebody because they have helped you or been kind to you to owe a debt of gratitude to somebody I would like to acknowledge my debt to my teachers.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English dette: from Old French, based on Latin debitum ‘something owed’, past participle of debere ‘owe’. The spelling change in French and English was by association with the Latin word.Extra examples After a series of meetings, the banks were forced to write off the company’s debts. Bad debt has hit the bank’s profits this year. Data show that debt levels at private companies are increasing. Faced with a mounting burden of debt, he sold off the company. He used the cash to pay off personal debts. He wanted to consolidate his debts into one payment. He was burdened with crippling debts. He was heavily in debt by the time he sought advice. I am in Ruth’s debt for the excellent advice she gave me. In the introduction, the author acknowledges her debt to other writers on the subject. It is easy to get into serious debt with a credit card. It’ll take months to pay off all your debts. Managing your student loan debt is not easy. She ran up huge debts on her credit card. She used her lottery winnings to pay off her outstanding debts. She was simply repaying a debt, saving his career in return for him saving hers. The company defaulted on its debt and its assets were seized. The company has reached a deal allowing it to restructure its debts. The company has reached a deal with its major creditors allowing it to restructure its debts. The country has a national debt of 80% of GNP. The fall in exports has left the country unable to service its debts. The first step in managing your debt is to stop incurring it. The national debt stands at $7 billion. The new governments main aim is to tackle the country’s massive debt. We offer financial and debt-management advice. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our families for their support. We’re all struggling to stay out of debt. Without a job, he’ll never clear his debts. You can get out of debt by strict economizing. a company faced with mounting debts a debt secured on property a solution to the debt crisis of the developing world debts arising from bad investments the substantial debts that the company owed to the bank He died heavily in debt. It’s hard to stay out of debt when you are a student. Only two payments were made, leaving an outstanding debt of £300. She had run up credit card debts of thousands of dollars. The aid currently pouring into the country will have little impact on its massive debt burden. The company wrote it off as a bad debt. We were poor but we never got into debt.Idioms
    be in somebody’s debt
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    (formal) to feel grateful to somebody for their help, kindness, etc.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: debt