People owe things when they're in debt to someone. A friend can owe you a favor, and your employer owes you a paycheck.

When you talk about owing, it has to do with what someone deserves from someone else. If you borrow library books, you owe them to the library after a few weeks. When you take out a loan, you owe that money to the bank. You can also owe favors and more abstract things. If a friend did something bad to you, but they've been your friend a long time, you probably owe them a second chance.

Definitions of owe
  1. verb
    be obliged to pay or repay
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    chalk up, run up
    accumulate as a debt
  2. verb
    be in debt
    “She owes me $200”
    “I still owe for the car”
    “The thesis owes much to his adviser”
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    put up as security or collateral
    issue bonds on
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  3. verb
    be indebted to, in an abstract or intellectual sense
    “This new theory owes much to Einstein's Relativity Theory”
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    type of:
    build on, build upon, repose on, rest on
    be based on; of theories and claims, for example
Word Family

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