verb (T)
1 MONEY to have to pay someone for something that they have done for you or sold to you, or to have to give someone back money that they have lent you: owe sb sth: I owe my brother $50. | owe sb for sth: We still owe the garage for those repairs. | owe sth: How much do you owe?
2 STH DONE/GIVEN to feel that you should do something for someone, give someone something etc because they have done something for you or given something to you: owe sb a drink/letter etc: I'll write and tell Marie; I owe her a letter anyway. | owe sb a favour: One of the neighbours owes me a favor, I'm sure they'll take care of the cat. | I owe you one (=used when saying thank you, when they have helped you and you are willing to help them): Thanks a lot for being so understanding about all this - I owe you one! | owe sb informal (=be in a position in which someone has help you, so that you should help them): Let's go and see Joe - he owes me!
3 owe sb an explanation/apology to feel that you should give someone an explanation of why you did something, or say you are sorry: “I owe you an apology, Margaret,” he said sheepishly.
a) to have something or achieve something because of what someone else has done: owe sth to sb: Helena probably owed her rapid recovery to her husband's devoted care. | owe sb sth: I knew that I owed Shanklin my life.
b) to know that someone's help has been important to you in achieving something: owe sb a lot/owe sb a great deal: “I owe my parents a lot,” he admitted. | He owes a great deal to his publishers. | owe it all to/owe everything to: I owe it all to you. | owe sb a debt (of gratitude): the debt that we owe to our teachers
5 owe it to sb to do sth to feel you should do something for someone because they have helped you or given you support: You owe it to your supporters not to give up now.
6 owe it to yourself to do sth to feel you should try to achieve something because it is what you deserve: You owe it to yourself to take some time off.
7 GOOD EFFECT to be successful because of the good effect of something: Their success owes more to good luck than to careful management.
8 owe loyalty/allegiance etc to have a duty to obey someone: From then on English and Scottish citizens owed allegiance to the same king.
9 think that the world owes you a living to be unwilling to work in order to get things, and expect them to be provided for you

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • owe — W3S2 [əu US ou] v [T] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(money)¦ 2¦(something done/given)¦ 3 owe somebody an explanation/apology 4¦(help to achieve something)¦ 5¦(good effect)¦ 6 owe it to somebody to do something 7 owe it to yourself to do something 8 owe… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • owe — [ əu ] verb transitive *** 1. ) if you owe someone money, you have to give them a particular amount of money because you have bought something from them or borrowed money from them. Money that you owe is called a debt: Tell me how much I owe, and …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • owe — [əʊ ǁ oʊ] verb [transitive] FINANCE to have not yet paid someone money you should pay them, or to have not yet paid back money you borrowed: • She owes taxes for the past three years. owe somebody something (for something) • He owes the company… …   Financial and business terms

  • Owe — ([=o]), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Owed} ([=o]d), ({Ought} ([add]t) obs.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Owing} ([=o] [i^]ng).] [OE. owen, awen, aghen, to have, own, have (to do), hence, owe, AS. [=a]gan to have; akin to G. eigen, a., own, Icel. eiga to have, Dan.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Owe — is a surname or given name, a spelling variation of Ove, and may refer to: Baard Owe (born 1936), Norwegian born actor Owe Hellberg (born 1953), Swedish Left Party politician Owe Jonsson (1940 1962), Swedish athlete Owe Wiktorin (born 1940),… …   Wikipedia

  • owe — I verb be beholden, be bound, be due, be in debt, be indebted, be liable, be obligated, be under obligation, contract a debt, debere, have a loan, have an obligation, incur a debt associated concepts: debt owed, debtor creditor laws, legally owed …   Law dictionary

  • owe — ► VERB 1) be required to pay (money or goods) to (someone) in return for something received. 2) be morally obliged to show (gratitude, respect, etc.) or to offer (an explanation) to (someone). 3) (owe something to) have something because of. 4)… …   English terms dictionary

  • owe — owe·nia; owe; …   English syllables

  • owe — [ō] vt. owed, owing [ME owen < OE agan, to own, possess, have, akin to Goth aigan, OHG eigan < IE base * ēik , to have as one s own, be capable (of) > Sans * īśē, (he) possesses] 1. to have an obligation to pay; be indebted to the amount …   English World dictionary

  • owe — (v.) O.E. agan (past tense 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • owe — [v] have an obligation be beholden, be bound, be contracted, behind, be in arrears, be in debt, be indebted, be into one for, be obligated, be under obligation, feel bound, get on credit, have borrowed, incur, in hock*, lost, on the tab*, ought… …   New thesaurus

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