Dictionary » O » Owe



1. To possess; to have, as the rightful owner; to own. Thou dost here usurp The name thou ow'st not. (Shak)

2. To have or possess, as something derived or bestowed; to be obliged to ascribe (something to some source); to be indebted or obliged for; as, he owed his wealth to his father; he owed his victoty to his lieutenants. O deem thy fall not owed to man's decree. (pope)

3. Hence: To have or be under an obigation to restore, pay, or render (something) in return or compensation for something received; to be indebted in the sum of; as, the subject owes allegiance; the fortunate owe assistance to the unfortunate. The one ought five hundred pence, and the other fifty. (bible (1551)) A son owes help and honor to his father. (Holyday)

Owe was sometimes followed by an objective clause introduced by the infinitive. Ye owen to incline and bow your heart.

4. To have an obligation to (some one) on account of something done or received; to be indebted to; as, to iwe the grocer for supplies, or a laborer for services.

Origin: OE. Owen, awen,aghen, to have, own, have (to do), hence, owe, AS. Agan to have; akin to G. Eigen, a, own, Icel. Eiga to have, Dan. Eie, Sw. Aga, Goth. Aigan, Skr. . Cf. Ought, 2d Own, Fraught.

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