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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.