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[det-er] /ˈdɛt ər/
a person who is in debt or under financial obligation to another (opposed to creditor).
1250-1300; Middle English detto(u)r < Anglo-French dett(o)ur, de(b)tour, Old French det(t)or < Latin dēbitōr-, stem of dēbitor, equivalent to dēbi-, variant stem of dēbēre (see debt) + -tor -tor
Related forms
nondebtor, noun
predebtor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for debtors
  • All other debtors lose out in case of bankruptcy, unless they can prove fraud was involved.
  • In doing this, though, inflation helps debtors and spenders at the expense of creditors and savers.
  • debtors of all kinds find that their securities are no longer the equal of their debts.
  • He languished in debtors' prison and struggled to support himself as a poet and a playwright.
  • Of course, inflation is an unfair and arbitrary transfer of income from savers to debtors.
  • It's not easy to explain why lenders overestimated the ability of debtors to pay.
  • My story is kinder to the debtors, but it also makes modifications more problematic.
  • First, he raises the necessary money through chasing down one of his father's debtors, and raises the rest at the racetrack.
  • We play a part in the problem by holding these poor in debtors' prison after playing out our cold-war dramas on their land.
  • These same countries are also the world's largest debtors.
British Dictionary definitions for debtors


a person or commercial enterprise that owes a financial obligation Compare creditor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debtors



early 13c., dettur, dettour, from Old French detour, from Latin debitor "a debter," from past participle stem of debere; see debt. The -b- was restored in later French, and in English c.1560-c.1660. The KJV has detter three times, debter three times, debtor twice and debtour once.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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debtors in the Bible

Various regulations as to the relation between debtor and creditor are laid down in the Scriptures. (1.) The debtor was to deliver up as a pledge to the creditor what he could most easily dispense with (Deut. 24:10, 11). (2.) A mill, or millstone, or upper garment, when given as a pledge, could not be kept over night (Ex. 22:26, 27). (3.) A debt could not be exacted during the Sabbatic year (Deut. 15:1-15). For other laws bearing on this relation see Lev. 25:14, 32, 39; Matt. 18:25, 34. (4.) A surety was liable in the same way as the original debtor (Prov. 11:15; 17:18).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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