From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdebtdebt /det/ ●●● S3 W2 noun 1 [countable]OWE a sum of money that a person or organization owesdebt of She had debts of over £100,000. He had enough money to pay off his outstanding debts. students who run up huge debts2 [uncountable]OWE when you owe money to someone OPP creditin debt (to somebody) Nearly half the students said they were in debt. The band will be in debt to the record company for years.£200/$1,000 etc in debt A rash business decision left him $600 in debt.get/run/fall etc into debt The club sank deeper into debt.be heavily/deeply in debt (=owe a lot of money)3 EFFECT/INFLUENCE[countable usually singular] the degree to which you have learned from or been influenced by someone or something elsedebt to Braque acknowledged his debt to Impressionist painting.4 → debt of gratitude/thanksCOLLOCATIONSverbshave debtsFortunately, I have no debts.run up debts (also amass debts formal) (=borrow more and more money)At that time he was drinking a lot and running up debts.pay off a debt (=pay the money back)The first thing I'm going to do is pay off my debts.repay/settle a debt formal (=pay the money back)He was hoping he would soon have enough money to settle his debts.clear your debts (=repay all of them)It took him three years to clear his bank debts.service a debt (=pay the interest on a debt, but not pay it back)By then, she was borrowing more money just to service her debts.write off/cancel a debt (=say officially that it does not have to be paid)The bank finally agreed to write off the debt.be burdened with/saddled with debts (=have big debts)Many poor countries are saddled with huge debts.reduce a debtThe programme aims to reduce the debt of the world's poorest countries.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + debtbig/largeThe debts got bigger and bigger.huge (=very big)Young people often leave university with huge debts.unpaid/outstanding (=not yet paid)The average outstanding debt on credit cards in Britain is now over £3,000.heavy debts (=big debts)The company wanted to reduce its heavy debts.a bad debt (=one that is unlikely to be paid back)Companies lose millions of pounds each year from having to write off bad debts.a bank debt (=one that you owe to a bank)The company closed with bank debts of about £350 million.the national debt (=the total amount that is owed by the government of a country)Their national debt is the third largest in the world.
Examples from the Corpusdebt• Debt is one of the main social problems of our time.• Lenders must try and protect themselves against bad debts.• In the past few years thousands of farmers have committed suicide because of escalating debts.• To pay the interest on our foreign debt, we will have to import less.• The government now has debts of $2.5 billion.• Since there are many different categories of debt issues, there are many different possible types of yield curves.• Unfortunately, widespread foot-dragging continues to act as a brake on debt relief.• It took us three years to pay off all our debts.• Shareholders and creditors agree to restructure debts and payment schedules and, often, to swap debt for riskier equity.• The Issue Department frequently engages in open-market operations as part of the Bank's debt management.• However, the members will be personally liable to the company to the full extent for the debts of the company.• He protected less profitable state farms by writing off their debts.• The credit industry argues that the changes are needed to prevent people who can repay their debts from hiding behind bankruptcy law.debt of• The company has debts of around $1,000,000.in debt (to somebody)• The early years of hyperinflation after price controls were eased in 1992 led to backlogs in debts among businesses and the state.• P said its main concern is $ 3. 1 billion in debt that comes due in 1997.• The college takes 500 pupils from across the world and decided to call in debt collectors as a last resort.• I am for ever in debt, you must know.• Felcor will assume $ 14 million in debt for the hotel.• The colliery is struggling to fulfil its contracts and is burdened by £1.7 million in debts.• There was an up front charge and they will take a proportion of any reduction in debt.acknowledged ... debt• Shelley has always acknowledged his debt to the late doctor.• Certainly, Bentham acknowledged his debt to Beccaria.• Brooks attended to every detail of his churches and Mackmurdo later acknowledged his debt to him as an exemplar of methodical thoroughness.• Years later, she acknowledged the debt she owed him for those early lessons in self-determination.• Yet apart from this acknowledged intellectual debt and critical reaction to Spengler Mosley developed other ideas from his work.From Longman Business Dictionarydebtdebt /det/ noun1[countable] money that one person, organization, country etc owes to anotherThe country will not receive further funds after it failed to repay debts of $16 million.The importer will have to settle his debt in the exporter’s currency.Once we have cleared the debt (=paid it), we could buy a car with another loan.2[uncountable] the state of owing moneyFamilies in debt on their fuel bills are already choosing between heating and eating.People with children are much more likely to get into debt than people without children.He was so heavily in debt that he had to sell off his house and car.3[uncountable]FINANCECOMMERCE capital borrowed by a business or government organization on which it pays interestWe need to sell assets to reduce our debt.This company has enormous cash flow and it should have no problem servicing its debt (=making interest payments on its debt).If you possibly can, use the cash to pay down debt (=reduce the amount of debt owed).We should now be able to get cheaper loans, retire our costliest debt (=repay loans) and improve our capital structure.The IMF has failed to find money to help write off debts (=to no longer expect or demand repayment) of the poorest countries. → see also acknowledgement of debt → bad debt → bank debt → book debt → consumer debt → corporate debt → doubtful debt → external debt → fixed-rate debt → floating debt → foreign debt → investment-grade debt → judgement debt → junior debt → long-term debt → medium-term debt → mezzanine debt → national debt → public debt → secured debt → senior debt → short-term debt → sovereign debt → subordinated debt → Third World debt → trade debt → unsecured debtOrigin debt (1200-1300) Old French dette, from Latin debitum, from debere “to owe”