The noun debt refers to an obligation to pay for or do something. If you get arrested for stealing, serving time in jail is the way to repay your debt to society.

Debt comes from the Latin word debitum, which means "thing owed." Often, a debt is money that you must repay someone. Debt can also mean the state of owing something — if you borrow twenty dollars from your brother, you are in debt to him until you pay him back. If someone says, "I owe you a debt of gratitude," it means you have done something great and that person intends to do something to "repay" your kindness.

Definitions of debt

n the state of owing something (especially money)

“he is badly in debt
Type of:
financial obligation, indebtedness, liability
an obligation to pay money to another party

n money or goods or services owed by one person to another

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an unpaid overdue debt
national debt
the debt of the national government (as distinguished from the debts of individuals and businesses and political subdivisions)
public debt
the total of the nation's debts: debts of local and state and national governments; an indicator of how much public spending is financed by borrowing instead of taxation
debt ceiling, debt limit
the maximum borrowing power of a governmental entity
bad debt
a debt that is unlikely to be repaid
installment debt
debt to be paid by installments
the temporary provision of money (usually at interest)
the original amount of a debt on which interest is calculated
an amount due (as at a restaurant or bar)
bank loan
a loan made by a bank; to be repaid with interest on or before a fixed date
equity credit line, home equity credit, home equity loan, home loan
a loan secured by equity value in the borrower's home
installment credit, installment loan
a loan repaid with interest in equal periodic payments
national debt ceiling
a limit set by Congress beyond which the national debt cannot rise; periodically raised by Congress
call loan, demand loan
a loan that is repayable on demand
direct loan
a loan by a lender to a customer without the use of a third party; direct lending gives the lender greater discretion in making loans
loan participation, participation financing, participation loan
a loan that is shared by a group of banks that join to make a loan too big for any one of them alone
consumer loan, personal loan
a loan that establishes consumer credit that is granted for personal use; usually unsecured and based on the borrower's integrity and ability to pay
one percent of the total principal of a loan; it is paid at the time the loan is made and is independent of the interest on the loan
mortgage loan, real estate loan
a loan on real estate that is usually secured by a mortgage
time loan
a loan that is payable on or before a specified date
Type of:
anything that is owed to someone else

n an obligation to pay or do something

Type of:
a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply

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