What does borrow mean?

Definitions for borrow
ˈbɒr oʊ, ˈbɔr oʊbor·row

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word borrow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. borrowverb

    get temporarily

    "May I borrow your lawn mower?"

  2. adopt, borrow, take over, take upverb

    take up and practice as one's own

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Borrownoun

    The thing borrowed.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Yet of your royal presence I’ll adventure
    The borrow of a week. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

  2. To BORROWverb

    Etymology: borgen, Dutch; borgian, Saxon.

    He borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

    We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Neh. v. 4.

    Then he said, go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours. 2 Kings, iv. 3.

    Where darkness and surprize made conquest cheap!
    Where virtue borrowed the arms of chance,
    And struck a random blow! John Dryden, Span. Friar.

    A borrow’d title hast thou bought too dear;
    Why didst thou tell me that thou wert a king? William Shakespeare, H. IV.

    They may borrow something of instruction even from their past guilt. Decay of Piety.

    I was engaged in the translation of Virgil, from whom I have borrowed only two months. John Dryden, Dufresn.

    These verbal signs they sometimes borrow from others, and sometimes make themselves; as one may observe among the new names children give to things. John Locke.

    Some persons of bright parts have narrow remembrance; for having riches of their own, they are not solicitous to borrow. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

    Unkind and cruel, to deceive your son
    In borrow’d shapes, and his embrace to shun. John Dryden, Æn.


  1. borrow

    Borrow refers to the act of taking or receiving something from someone with the intention of returning it after a certain period of time. It often refers to a formal understanding where money, goods or services are lent, often with the expectation of being repaid with interest in case of financial borrowing. It can also refer to adopting or taking on concepts, ideas, words, styles from another person, source or culture.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Borrowverb

    to receive from another as a loan, with the implied or expressed intention of returning the identical article or its equivalent in kind; -- the opposite of lend

  2. Borrowverb

    to take (one or more) from the next higher denomination in order to add it to the next lower; -- a term of subtraction when the figure of the subtrahend is larger than the corresponding one of the minuend

  3. Borrowverb

    to copy or imitate; to adopt; as, to borrow the style, manner, or opinions of another

  4. Borrowverb

    to feign or counterfeit

  5. Borrowverb

    to receive; to take; to derive

  6. Borrownoun

    something deposited as security; a pledge; a surety; a hostage

  7. Borrownoun

    the act of borrowing

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Borrow

    bor′ō, v.t. to obtain on loan or trust: to adopt from a foreign source: to derive one's authority from another (with from, of).—p.adj. Borr′owed, taken on loan, counterfeit, assumed.—n. Borr′ower.—Borrowing days, the last three days of March (O.S.), supposed in Scotch folklore to have been borrowed by March from April, and to be especially stormy. [A.S. borgianborg, borh, a pledge, security.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    v. t., to swap hot air for cold coin.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Borrow is ranked #84748 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Borrow surname appeared 221 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Borrow.

    80% or 177 total occurrences were White.
    9.9% or 22 total occurrences were Black.
    4.9% or 11 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    4% or 9 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'borrow' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2002

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'borrow' in Verbs Frequency: #563

How to pronounce borrow?

How to say borrow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of borrow in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of borrow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of borrow in a Sentence

  1. Reed Hastings:

    These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts, they are going to do some great shows. I'm going to be envious. They're going to come up with some great ideas. We're going to want to borrow those.

  2. Proverb:

    If you borrow some chaff from the rich man you have to repay him with wheat.

  3. Robert Townsend:

    Consultants are people who borrow your watch and tell you what time it is, and then walk off with the watch.

  4. Greg McBride:

    Even the government can't borrow at zero percent, the most creditworthy consumer carries a higher risk than the US Treasury, so you are going to pay at least a couple percentage points more than that.

  5. Pedro Pierluisi:

    Puerto Rico’s shameful treatment under Medicaid harms quality of life in the territory and has compelled the Puerto Rico government to over-borrow…to compensate.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for borrow

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"borrow." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/borrow>.

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