AskDefine | Define borrow

Dictionary Definition



1 get temporarily; "May I borrow your lawn mower?" [ant: lend]
2 take up and practice as one's own [syn: adopt, take over, take up]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK): , /ˈbɒrəʊ/, /"bQr@U/
  • (US): , /ˈbɑroʊ/, /"bAroU/
    Rhymes with: -ɒrəʊ

Etymology 1

borgian, from . Cognate with German borgen.


  1. To receive (something) from somebody temporarily, expecting to return it.
  2. To adopt (an idea) as one's own.
  3. To copy a word from another language.
  4. In a subtraction, to deduct (one) from a digit of the minuend and add ten to the following digit, in order that the subtraction of a larger digit in the subtrahend from the digit in the minuend to which ten is added gives a positive result.
Derived terms
receive temporarily
adopt (an idea) as one's own
in a subtraction

Etymology 2

borg, from (related to Etymology 1, above).


  1. A ransom; a pledge or guarantee.
  2. A surety; someone standing bail.
    • 1819: ”where am I to find such a sum? If I sell the very pyx and candlesticks on the altar at Jorvaulx, I shall scarce raise the half; and it will be necessary for that purpose that I go to Jorvaulx myself; ye may retain as borrows my two priests.” — Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Extensive Definition

Borrow or borrowing can mean: to receive (something) from somebody temporarily, expecting to return it.
  • In finance, monetary debt
  • In language, the use of loanwords
  • In arithmetic, when a digit become smaller than limit and the deficiency is taken from the next digit to the left
  • In music, the use of borrowed chords
  • In the Discworld fictional universe - "the art of overlaying one's hi mind on the mind of another creature so that she can see through its eyes and steer its actions" as practised by the character Granny Weatherwax

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abstract, act like, adopt, affect, and, annex, appropriate, assume, bag, boost, bum, cadge, chorus, cop, copy, counterfeit, crib, defraud, discount, discount notes, ditto, do, do like, draw, echo, embezzle, extort, fake, filch, float a loan, forge, get a loan, get into debt, get on credit, go in debt, go in hock, go like, hit one for, hit up, hoke, hoke up, hook, imitate, infringe a copyright, lend, lift, make like, make off with, mirror, mooch, negotiate a loan, nip, obtain, palm, pawn, pilfer, pinch, pirate, plagiarize, plunge into debt, poach, purloin, raise money, reecho, refer to, reflect, repeat, run away with, run into debt, rustle, scrounge, shave, shoplift, show a deficit, simulate, snare, snatch, snitch, sponge, steal, swindle, swipe, take, thieve, touch, walk off with
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