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
  1. noun
    the state of owing something (especially money)
    “he is badly in debt
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    type of:
    financial obligation, indebtedness, liability
    an obligation to pay money to another party
  2. noun
    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
  3. noun
    an obligation to pay or do something
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    type of:
    a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘debt'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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