verb (used with object), owed, owing.
to be under obligation to pay or repay: to owe money to the bank; to owe the bank interest on a mortgage.
to be in debt to: He says he doesn't owe anybody.
to be indebted (to) as the cause or source of: to owe one's fame to good fortune.
to have or bear (a feeling or attitude) toward someone or something: to owe gratitude to one's rescuers.
Obsolete. to possess; own.
verb (used without object), owed, owing.
to be in debt: Neither lend nor owe. Who owes for the antipasto?

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

1. O, oh, owe ; 2. ode, owed.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
owe (əʊ)
1.  to be under an obligation to pay (someone) to the amount of
2.  (intr) 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)
[Old English āgan to have (C12: to have to); related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old High German eigan]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. agan (pt. ahte) "to have, own," from P.Gmc. *aiganan "to possess" (cf. O.Fris. aga, O.N. eiga, O.H.G. eigan, Goth. aigan "to possess, have"), from PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess" (cf. Skt. ise "he owns," isah "owner, lord, ruler;" Avestan is- "riches," isvan- "well-off, rich"). Sense of "to
have to repay" began in late O.E. with the phrase agan to geldanne lit. "to own to yield," which was used to translate L. debere (earlier in O.E. this would have been sceal "shall"); by c.1175 the phrase had been shortened to simply agan, and own (v.) took over this word's original sense. An original Gmc. preterite-present verb (cf. can, dare, may, etc.). New past tense form owed arose 15c. to replace oughte, which developed into ought (1).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Initially a forest reserve, the park also owes its existence in part to
Rico owes much of its early success to a lottery ticket.
They were insufferable, but the church owes them a great debt.
In fact, each of the endless varieties of cheese owes its distinctive taste to
  the bacteria it contains.
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