owe Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Meaning of “owe” in the English Dictionary

"owe" in British English

See all translations

oweverb [T]

uk   /əʊ/  us   //

owe verb [T] (HAVE DEBTS)

B1 to need to ​pay or give something to someone because they have ​lentmoney to you, or in ​exchange for something they have done for you: [+ two objects] I owe Janet $50. We still owe $1,000 onourcar (= we still need to ​pay $1,000 before we own ​ourcar). I owe you a ​drink forhelping me ​move. I ​think you owe (= should give) me an explanation/​apology.
See also
More examples

owe verb [T] (AS A RESULT)

C2 to have ​success, ​happiness, a ​job, etc. only because of what someone has given you or done for you or because of ​your own ​efforts: I owe my ​success to my ​education. He owes his ​life to the ​staff at the ​hospital. I owe everything (= I am very ​grateful) to my ​parents.
(Definition of owe from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"owe" in American English

See all translations


 us   //

owe verb (HAVE A DEBT)

[I/T] to have the ​responsibility to ​pay or give back something you have ​received from someone: [T] Don’t ​forget – you owe me ten ​dollars.

owe verb (BE GRATEFUL)

[T] to be ​grateful to someone or something because of what the ​person or thing ​provided or made ​possible: I owe a lot to my ​parents, who have always ​supported and ​encouraged me.
(Definition of owe from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"owe" in Business English

See all translations

oweverb [T]

uk   us   /əʊ/
FINANCE, COMMERCE to need to ​pay or give something to someone because they have ​lentmoney to you: owe sb $5/$500, etc. I owe you £200. How much do we owe the ​bank? He ​claims the ​firm owes him money.owe $5/$500, etc. to sb The ​company owes $618 million to its ​creditors.owe $100/$1000, etc. on sth We still owe $1000 on our ​car.owe $100/$1000, etc. in sth The ​governmentalleges that he owes $54 million in ​unpaidtaxes.
to have had someone ​help you or do something good for you, so that you should do something similar for them: He owes you a favor for helping him with the ​project.owe sb (one) Thanks - I owe you one!
(Definition of owe from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Translations of “owe”
in Korean 빚지다…
in Arabic يَدين لـِ…
in Malaysian berhutang…
in French devoir…
in Russian быть должным, задолжать…
in Chinese (Traditional) 負債, 欠(債), 欠(帳)…
in Italian dovere…
in Turkish borçlu olmak, borcu olmak…
in Polish być winnym…
in Spanish deber…
in Vietnamese nợ…
in Portuguese dever…
in Thai เป็นหนี้…
in German schulden…
in Catalan deure…
in Japanese (人)に借金がある…
in Chinese (Simplified) 负债, 欠(债), 欠(账)…
in Indonesian meminjam, berhutang…
What is the pronunciation of owe?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“owe” in British English

“owe” in American English

“owe” in Business English

Word of the Day


A studious person enjoys studying or spends a lot of time studying.

Word of the Day

Tree huggers and climate change deniers
Tree huggers and climate change deniers
by Colin McIntosh,
October 08, 2015
The climate debate is one that has predictably generated a large amount of new vocabulary, some of it originally specialized scientific terminology that has been taken up by the media and is now common currency. Some of these terms are new additions to the Cambridge English Dictionary. The two opposing sides in

Read More 

face training noun
face training noun
October 05, 2015
a system of facial exercises designed to tone the facial muscles and improve the skin

Read More