v. owed, ow·ing, owes
1. To be indebted to the amount of: He owes me five dollars.
2. To have a moral or legal obligation to render or offer: I owe them an apology.
3. To be in debt to: We owe the plumber for services rendered.
4. To be indebted or obliged for: owed their riches to oil; owes her good health to diet and exercise.
5. To bear (a certain feeling) toward a person or persons: You seem to owe your neighbors a grudge.
6. Archaic To have as a possession; own.
To be in debt: She still owes for the car.
[Middle English owen, from Old English āgan, to possess; see aik- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.