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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


have/owe a duty to sb
▪ A tenant owes a duty to the landlord to keep the house in reasonable condition.
owe allegiance (=have a duty to give allegiance)
▪ You owe allegiance to your king.
owe an obligation to sbformal (= have an obligation to support, help etc someone)
▪ He owed an obligation of loyalty to his king.
owe its origins to sth (=used to explain how something began to exist)
▪ a government which owes its origins to revolution
owe sb a debt of gratitude
▪ I owe my former teacher a deep debt of gratitude.
owe sb a favour (=feel that you should do something for someone because they have done something for you)
▪ I owe you a favour for all the help you’ve given me.
owe sb an apology
▪ I’m afraid I owe you an apology.
owe (sb) an explanation
▪ I think you owe me some kind of explanation.
owe sb money
▪ He owes me money.
owe sb obedience
▪ The knights owed obedience to their king.
owe your existence to sth (=be able to exist because of something)
▪ The birds owe their existence to the fact that there are no natural predators on the island.
owe your life to sb (=be still alive because of someone’s actions)
▪ The victim said he owed his life to the stranger who helped him.
owe your survival to sb/sth
▪ The frogs owe their survival to a conservation program.
owing to
▪ Owing to a lack of funds, the project will not continue next year.
▪ I didn't understand what she meant about sometimes you owe more to strangers, but I do now.
▪ Their election seems in the end to owe more to the system than to the voters.
▪ If I remember right we owed more to the Constitution than it did to us.
▪ Anyone who succeeded in business in the past decade owed more than a little to the climate she created.
▪ The best remedy for a creditor owed more than £50 was to make his debtor bankrupt.
▪ This wealth is independent of production relations and owes more to household structure and position in the life-cycle.
▪ That I hadn't forgotten he was my own flesh and blood, but that sometimes you owe more to strangers.
▪ The quality of even our grandest scenery owes much to its intimacy of scale.
▪ The antagonism directed towards photography from the 1860s owes much to the displacement of human handicrafts by machine methods.
▪ Kelly's and Salisbury's style owes much to the latter.
▪ The phenomenal success of his efforts owed much to his supreme mathematical skills and to his equally superb physical insights.
▪ Military organization, too, owed much to the whim of the Tsar.
▪ In turn, the types of constructions in which a verb may appear owe much to its meaning.
▪ The functionalist design owed much to Emberton's assistant George Fairweather.
▪ Each owes much to the other, but one will be the more popular.
▪ Ivan Capelli drove for the March team for five seasons, but says he's still owed the money in unpaid wages.
▪ A former landlord said she was still owed several thousand dollars in back rent.
▪ Around forty workers are still owed five months pay.
▪ He still owes nearly $ 2, 000 on his 1991 campaign.
▪ They still owed the grocer and Dad said he had had to pay another month's rent.
▪ He still owed Bert a fish over the bike deal.
▪ Reg Brealey, the club chairman, told shareholders at yesterday's annual meeting that the club still owes £2.3million.
▪ The authors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and owe allegiance to a wide diversity of schools of thought.
▪ A number of communes were independent of any seigneur, and owed allegiance to the Crown alone.
▪ Should they owe allegiance and obedience to him?
▪ We can maintain with relative certainty that at least some of the mummies owed obedience if not allegiance to the Xiongnu shanyu.
▪ We owe no more allegiance, Peter.
▪ The Empire, a loose alliance of city-states and provinces owing allegiance to its Emperor, and the kingdom of Bretonnia.
▪ Knights owe their allegiance directly to their lord: the Elector Count of their province.
▪ But it is not only Marxists who argue that bureaucracies may owe their primary allegiance to a particular class.
▪ You may be able to get free life assurance cover for the amount you owe.
▪ Any funds realized in excess of the amount owed must be returned to the borrower.
▪ For example, if you're under 60 you get free life assurance on the total amount you owe up to £15,000.
▪ Any excess money collected above the amount owed the bank must be returned to the borrower.
▪ Answer guide: A creditor represents an amount owing by an enterprise to a third party.
▪ We also want this table sorted by the amount that the clients owe in descending order.
▪ Write the total amount you owe on pieces of marking tape.
▪ Use Post-its to attach the total amount you owe to your refrigerator or dashboard.
▪ I think you owe an apology to Clegg.
▪ I think these people who said those hateful things about him owe him an apology.
▪ You owe him an apology for misjudging him and suspecting his motives at every turn.
▪ In light of this, do you feel you owe the world an apology?
▪ You are owed an apology also.
▪ I guess I owe her an apology.
▪ Proponents of such a view owe us an apology for three avoidable Tory victories.
▪ Did she really owe him an apology?
▪ It began to lose money, and would now owe banks some £250m-300m if its contracts were enforced.
▪ This section lists long-term debt owed to banks or other creditors and any obligations under capital leases.
▪ I had to pay off what I owed the bank.
▪ Any excess money collected above the amount owed the bank must be returned to the borrower.
▪ Answer guide: Here Transom owes money to the bank which the bank can demand is repaid immediately.
▪ One decision will save local authorities at least part of the £500m they owe banks on contracts which they freely entered into.
▪ Answer guide: In this case the business owes the bank money which needs to be repaid in the short term.
Bank deposits are credit balances owed by a bank to its customers.
▪ Jean Packman concludes by showing that new policy embodied in future legislation owes something to child care research studies in recent years.
▪ The second question was whether the licensing authority, which licenses medicinal products, owes a duty of care to individuals.
▪ The cost of remedying the defect is economic loss and neither party owes a duty of care to P2 in that respect.
▪ He did find that the auditors owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
▪ Union Discount alleged that it was owed a duty of care by the auditors when they reported on the audit.
▪ To whom should auditors owe a duty of care?
▪ The railway company owes a duty of care to crossing users.
▪ But it emerges from the Kunsthaus show that he also owes a great deal to Tuggener.
▪ Ben concedes that he owes a great deal of his success to the help he gets from his Mum and Dad.
▪ The debts owing by each of the bankrupts exceeded the values of their interests in the homes.
▪ This section lists long-term debt owed to banks or other creditors and any obligations under capital leases.
▪ My debt is owed to the Eston Hills.
▪ I wear it to remind myself of the debt I owe you.
▪ Years later, she acknowledged the debt she owed him for those early lessons in self-determination.
▪ An especially large debt is owed to the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College for supporting my research at a critical time.
▪ The Smiths never forgot the debt they owed to John Peel and promised to repay, some day.
▪ His problems were financial, and the debts he owed were ruinously large.
▪ Third, the duty is owed to institutions which may have authority but only towards other people.
▪ The duty will be owed to the tenant, residents, neighbours and passers-by on the highway.
▪ In negligence actions the court may find that no duty of care was owed in the circumstances.
▪ Furthermore, within the range of duties which the State owes its citizens, failure to help is hindrance.
▪ Assume that a duty of care is owed by A to C as a rescue was reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances.
▪ His action would be determined by whether a duty was owed.
▪ That is the duty I owe to my cloth.
▪ The court would have to consider whether a duty was owed.
▪ It owes its existence to copper, which was discovered in the surrounding Mule Mountains in 1875.
▪ Yet in a very real way, we all owe our existence to the absence of choice available to our ancestors.
▪ The concession theory regards the company as owing its existence to an exercise of state power.
▪ I owe my existence to their absence of choice, as, almost certainly, does everyone reading this.
▪ A number of missions owe their existence to the initiative and financial support given in the first place by the Association.
▪ Some of the wildlife of the water-mill may owe its existence to a rather more conscious decision on the part of some long-dead miller.
▪ There are other conceptions of consciousness which also owe their existence to the pursuit of certain virtues.
▪ At the very least a clear case is owed a clear explanation if it is rejected.
▪ Of course, a decision not to have children is a legitimate choice, and whoever makes it owes no explanation.
▪ At the same time I felt I was owed an explanation.
▪ It seemed to me I owed him some explanation.
▪ The moribund, quasi-clerical state of the universities owed much to this fact.
▪ He asked a policeman who owed him a favour that he wanted no-one to know about.
▪ And he owed Duncan a favour, not once but many times over.
▪ He had, now, friends in many places, or people who owed him a favour.
▪ I owe him a favour, so I couldn't say no.
▪ In addition to that great teacher of prayer, there were others to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.
▪ And there were other occasions for which I owe them gratitude.
▪ She was given the special responsibility of taking care of me, and I owe her my life.
▪ Speedo knew that he owed his life to Rob; he was grateful and loyal.
▪ I owe my life to both of them, and we're all good friends.
▪ Composed in 1849, Sellers says the piece owes its life to a technological breakthrough: the invention of the valve.
▪ TWENTY-FOUR I owed my life to Martinho.
▪ It caught her straight across the neck and she probably owes her life to the fact that the drainpipe snapped.
▪ He was wearing a coat and a thick woollen scarf, to which he later claimed he owed his life.
▪ Others claim that some 100,000 owe their lives to his efforts.
▪ All the guys behind Don Shula owe him a lot.
▪ Whereas all the Republican members owed him a lot before, he owes them a lot now.
▪ I owe a lot to Dan.
▪ You owe them no loyalty ... you owe my country no enmity.
▪ He had betrayed her, taken another woman to their marriage bed and Eline no longer owed him any loyalty.
▪ But friends said yesterday she now felt she owed Wyman no further loyalty.
▪ On top of those arrears, the United States owes roughly $ 726 million for peacekeeping operations.
▪ It is also owed $ 2 million.
▪ The United States owes $ 464 million, nearly two-thirds of all the late dues.
▪ Apparently money was owed in Royalties for earlier operations.
▪ Informing San Marcos that it had made a mistake in the amount of redevelopment money the city owed the county.
▪ Much of the money owed was Brian's personal debt that his widow is not liable for.
▪ She tells me that the Mum has applied for free meals but should really pay back the money owed.
▪ The money that customers owe Sears. once Wall Street figured out how to package such securities, imaginations went wild.
▪ Arresting in this context simply means getting your hands on the money owed.
▪ The bulk of September's settlement was a cut in the money owed to credit card firms.
▪ Fiduciaries would also owe similar obligations.
▪ Population genetics owes its origin to Francis Galton, who put the study of human heredity on a mathematical footing.
▪ The glass in the regolith owes its origin to impacts of cometary and asteroidal material with the lunar surface.
▪ The second kind of modern atheism owes its origins to Feuerbach and its most powerful expression to Marx.
▪ Such effects owe their origin to gradients in the field and are called tidal effects.
▪ As to length, there are two traditional ways of measuring and both owe their origins to tiger shooting.
▪ The group, he said, owed its origins to direct action by environmentalists in Britain.
▪ Nevertheless, it is appropriate to consider here those components of karst topography that owe much of their origin to weathering processes.
▪ It is quite possible that the Wandjina figures owe their origin to external influence.
▪ It owes its position to the fame of Sillery which, equally overrated, owes its reputation to the vines of Verzeray.
▪ Many bishops owed their position to the king.
▪ In the past they had a degree of self-doubt because many realized that they owed their position to factors other than merit.
▪ Perhaps, to some extent, she thought with wry amusement, she owed her professional success to Jake.
▪ The production owes its success to a lot more than Lewis, though.
▪ It owes its success entirely to recommendations from one reader to another.
▪ Pass the bucky A great deal of current development owes its success to a new wonder material called a carbon nanotube.
▪ The great individualists so often cited to show the value of personal freedom have owed their successes to earlier social environments.
▪ The show owes much of its success to the star names it attracts to play suspects.
▪ But he would be the first to admit he owed most of his success to his wife Renee.
▪ Lagerfeld owed $ 12.5m in tax arrears.
▪ Call the phone number on the correspondence and explain clearly why you do not owe the tax.
▪ Imagine if only 13 percent of the adults who are owed tax refunds this year got them.
▪ You do not owe taxes charged against your spouse unless you and your spouse filed a joint return.
▪ Further, it is not automatic that you personally owe taxes assessed against your corporation.
▪ Current proposals for a child tax credit would not benefit many children because their families earn too little to owe taxes.
▪ I needed a release from the tax office showing that I owed no back taxes.
▪ Richard Lamm, who believes seniors owe it to the nation to go quietly, inexpensively and soon.
▪ I believe that we owe it to Mr. Davies and to many others to pass it quickly.
▪ He believes that biological structures owe their architectures to the structure of data passed to them.
▪ Now they don't have any money, and they believe he owes them £25.
▪ Or l would make believe he owed me money.
▪ I believed I owed him some debt.
▪ He said the case against him had been adjourned after he said he believed he owed less than £12.
▪ He was wearing a coat and a thick woollen scarf, to which he later claimed he owed his life.
▪ L operators from winning billions of dollars in damages they claim the government owes them.
▪ Others claim that some 100,000 owe their lives to his efforts.
▪ He and his friends claim Albie owed them ten thousand pounds.
▪ Tubeworkers, the largest of the sub-contractors, is taking High Court action over money it claims is owed by Trafalgar.
▪ Caldaire North-East claims it is owed almost £800,000 by Middlesbrough, Stockton and Langbaurgh councils.
▪ We feel the world owes us.
▪ Bonds probably felt the Giants owed him this consideration, keeping his streak alive for a couple games by artificial means.
▪ For some reason she felt she owed him a serious answer.
▪ In light of this, do you feel you owe the world an apology?
▪ At the same time I felt I was owed an explanation.
▪ He felt as though he owed it to Mel, and to everyone.
▪ Two heads are better than one - and I feel I owe you on this.
▪ The new resource represented welcome revenue for a local government feeling a financial pinch owing to a temporary local economic downturn.
▪ Eventually, together, we persuaded the man that Nelia should pay what she owed in instalments.
▪ Second, you must file and pay all taxes owing for the next five years in a timely matter.
▪ That sixty will pay off what you owe.
▪ One employee failed to report that he had been paid twice and owes the United Nations more than $ 34, 000.
▪ I had to pay off what I owed the bank.
▪ And I am quite prepared to pay whatever he owes her.
▪ By way of example, he suggests a threat by a debtor not to pay the £100 he owes her.
▪ She tells me that the Mum has applied for free meals but should really pay back the money owed.
think the world owes you a living
▪ "I owe my parents a lot," he admitted. "They worked real hard to put me through college."
▪ His job was to phone people who owed money and demand immediate payment.
▪ How much do we owe you for the milk?
▪ How much do you owe?
▪ I owe a great deal to my publishers, who helped me to finish writing the book.
▪ I owe it all to you. You were the only one who believed in me.
▪ I owe my parents a lot for everything they've done for me.
▪ The business collapsed, owing $50 million.
▪ We owe a lot of money to the bank.
▪ We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mrs Stevenson, who kindly donated the money for the project.
▪ You're going to owe me if I let you use my car.
▪ You still owe me $5.
▪ But they owe, if anything, even more to Essene tradition.
▪ But to that doctor I owe a portion of my sanity.
▪ Forget what he owes his readers.
▪ I owe it to Carrie and Mikey.
▪ Ivan Capelli drove for the March team for five seasons, but says he's still owed the money in unpaid wages.
▪ Perhaps, to some extent, she thought with wry amusement, she owed her professional success to Jake.
▪ South Florida owes him the respect one gives to a stern high school teacher.
▪ The phenomenal success of his efforts owed much to his supreme mathematical skills and to his equally superb physical insights.
The Collaborative International Dictionary


Owe \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. eie, Sw. ["a]ga, Goth. ['a]igan, Skr. [imac][,c].

  1. To possess; to have, as the rightful owner; to own. [Obs.]

    Thou dost here usurp The name thou ow'st not.

  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 victory to his lieutenants.

    O deem thy fall not owed to man's decree.

  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.

    Note: 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 owe the grocer for supplies, or a laborer for services.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


Old English agan (past tense ahte) "to have, own," from Proto-Germanic *aigan "to possess" (cognates: Old Frisian aga, Old Norse eiga, Old High German eigan, Gothic aigan "to possess, have"), from PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess" (cognates: Sanskrit ise "he owns," isah "owner, lord, ruler;" Avestan is- "riches," isvan- "well-off, rich").\n

\nSense of "to have to repay" began in late Old English with the phrase agan to geldanne literally "to own to yield," which was used to translate Latin debere (earlier in Old English this would have been sceal "shall"); by late 12c. the phrase had been shortened to simply agan, and own (v.) took over this word's original sense.\n

\nAn original Germanic preterite-present verb (along with can (v.1), dare, may, etc.). New past tense form owed arose 15c. to replace oughte, which developed into ought (v.).



Owe is a surname or given name, a spelling variation of Ove, and may refer to:

  • Baard Owe (born 1936), Norwegian-born actor
  • Owe Adamson (born 1935), Swedish cyclist and Olympic competitor
  • Owe Hellberg (born 1953), Swedish Left Party politician
  • Owe Jonsson (1940–1962), Swedish sprinter, ice hockey and bandy player
  • Owe Lostad (1922–2013), Swedish rower and Olympic competitor
  • Owe Nordqvist (born 1927), Swedish cyclist and Olympic competitor
  • Owe Ohlsson (born 1938), Swedish footballer and manager
  • Owe Thörnqvist (born 1929), Swedish troubadour, revue artist and songwriter
  • Owe Wiktorin (born 1940), Swedish General

Category:Swedish masculine given names



  1. v. be obliged to pay or repay

  2. be indebted to, in an abstract or intellectual sense; "This new theory owes much to Einstein's Relativity Theory"

  3. be in debt; "She owes me $200"; "The thesis owes much to his adviser"



vb. 1 To be under an obligation to give something back to someone or to perform some action for someone. 2 To have debt, to be in debt.

Usage examples of "owe".

The absolutist and patrimonial model survived in this period only with the support of a specific compromise of political forces, and its substance was eroding from the inside owing primarily to the emergence of new productive forces.

The transformation of starch into sugar, which is almost, if not entirely, suspended while the food remains in the stomach, owing to the acidity of the chyme, is resumed in the duodenum, the acid of the chyme, being neutralized by the alkaline secretions there encountered.

Those three literati were the Marquis Maffei, the Abbe Conti, and Pierre Jacques Martelli, who became enemies, according to public rumour, owing to the belief entertained by each of them that he possessed the favours of the actress, and, being men of learning, they fought with the pen.

June 23 thirtynine leaves from North Wales, which were selected owing to objects of some kind adhering to them.

Nevertheless, I owe it to myself to tell my readers that my pleasure was too pure to have in it any admixture of vice.

I cannot contravene the order of knights errant, about whom I know it is true, not having read anything to the contrary, that they never paid for their lodging or anything else in any inn where they stayed, because whatever welcome they receive is owed to them as their right and privi-lege in return for the unbearable hardships they suffer as they seek adventures by night and by day, in winter and in summer, on foot and on horseback, suffering thirst and hunger, heat and cold, and exposed to all the inclemencies of heaven and all the discomforts on earth.

I began by showing him that Leticia Nazareno owed us for an amount of taffeta twice the nautical distance to Santa Maria del Altar, that is, one hundred ninety leagues, and he said aha as if to himself, and I ended up by showing him that the total debt with the special discount for your excellency was equal to six times the grand prize in the lottery for ten years, and he said aha again and only then did he look at me directly without his glasses and I could see that his eyes were timid and indulgent, and only then did he tell me with a strange voice of harmony that our reasons were clear and just, to each his own, he said, have them send the bill to the government.

Walton had been known to brag that her house was the best furnished in the street, and on this she was right When in 1916 and at the age of seventeen she had married Alee, he was just out of his time in the shipyard and owing to the war earning good money.

As silent partner, Alker had supplied the required cash, only to find that he owed Malvin more than he could raise, due to trick clauses in the agreements that they signed.

I lost every day, I owed money everywhere, I had pawned all my jewels, and even my portrait cases, taking the precaution, however, of removing the portraits, which with my important papers and my amorous letters I had placed in the hands of Madame Manzoni.

Inside the Snake Den all was amorphous liquid mud, owing to the copious seepage.

By reason of his translation to the see of Lisieux he owed Rome annates to the amount of 400 golden florins.

But will this apologist for crime not tremble constantly himself when he has uprooted from every heart the very thing to which of necessity he owes his preservation?

But the Archdeacon, owing to your zeal, my dear Mornington, has been trying to saddle me with the responsibility for the loss of this chalice Sir Giles was writing about.

But they are treated here because they owe their importance to their use in the extraction of gold and because their determination has become a part of the ordinary work of an assayer of gold ores.