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owe

[oh] /oʊ/
verb (used with object), owed, owing.
1.
to be under obligation to pay or repay:
to owe money to the bank; to owe the bank interest on a mortgage.
2.
to be in debt to:
He says he doesn't owe anybody.
3.
to be indebted (to) as the cause or source of:
to owe one's fame to good fortune.
4.
to have or bear (a feeling or attitude) toward someone or something:
to owe gratitude to one's rescuers.
5.
Obsolete. to possess; own.
verb (used without object), owed, owing.
6.
to be in debt:
Neither lend nor owe. Who owes for the antipasto?
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English owen to possess, be under obligation, have to pay; Old English āgan to possess; cognate with Old High German eigan, Old Norse eiga. See own, ought1
Can be confused
O, oh, owe.
ode, owed.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for owed
  • We owed our success to those who had tried and failed, and to those who had tried and won.
  • The total amount of money in the world can not payback the total debt and interest owed on that debt.
  • Feathers, air sacs, nesting behavior-the earliest birds owed a lot to their dinosaurian ancestors.
  • So the family launched a campaign to get some of what they felt they were owed financially.
  • Southern food once owed much of its variety and agricultural vigor to wild plants.
  • Obviously, if he wants it then it must be owed to him.
  • After all, my prosperity was owed directly to education.
  • Afterward, he joked that his friend now owed him a beer, or else a guest lecture in return.
  • Most of that debt is owed to private lenders, who aren't inclined to contribute it to anything but their own coffers.
  • They borrowed more than they once had, but they could also pay back what they owed.
British Dictionary definitions for owed

owe

/əʊ/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
to be under an obligation to pay (someone) to the amount of
2.
(intransitive) to be in debt he still owes for his house
3.
(often foll by to) to have as a result (of) he owes his success to chance
4.
to feel the need or obligation to do, give, etc to owe somebody thanks, to owe it to oneself to rest
5.
to hold or maintain in the mind or heart (esp in the phrase owe a grudge)
Word Origin
Old English āgan to have (C12: to have to); related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old High German eigan
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 owed

owe

v.

Old English agan (past tense ahte) "to have, own," from Proto-Germanic *aiganan "to possess" (cf. Old Frisian aga, Old Norse eiga, Old High German eigan, Gothic aigan "to possess, have"), from PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess" (cf. Sanskrit ise "he owns," isah "owner, lord, ruler;" Avestan is- "riches," isvan- "well-off, rich").

Sense of "to have to repay" began in late Old English with the phrase agan to geldanne literally "to own to yield," which was used to translate Latin debere (earlier in Old English this would have been sceal "shall"); by late 12c. the phrase had been shortened to simply agan, and own (v.) took over this word's original sense.

An original Germanic preterite-present verb (cf. can, dare, may, etc.). New past tense form owed arose 15c. to replace oughte, which developed into ought (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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