Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to borrow: borrow pit


 (bŏr′ō, bôr′ō)
v. bor·rowed, bor·row·ing, bor·rows
1. To obtain or receive (something) on loan with the promise or understanding of returning it or its equivalent.
2. To adopt or use as one's own: I borrowed your good idea.
3. In subtraction, to take a unit from the next larger denomination in the minuend so as to make a number larger than the number to be subtracted.
4. Linguistics To adopt (a word) from one language for use in another.
1. To borrow something.
2. Linguistics To adopt words from one language for use in another.
borrow trouble
To take an unnecessary action that will probably engender adverse effects.

[Middle English borwen, from Old English borgian; see bhergh- in Indo-European roots.]

bor′row·er n.


1. to obtain or receive (something, such as money) on loan for temporary use, intending to give it, or something equivalent or identical, back to the lender
2. to adopt (ideas, words, etc) from another source; appropriate
3. not standard to lend
4. (Golf) golf to putt the ball uphill of the direct path to the hole
5. (Golf) (intr) golf (of a ball) to deviate from a straight path because of the slope of the ground
6. (Golf) golf a deviation of a ball from a straight path because of the slope of the ground: a left borrow.
7. (Civil Engineering) material dug from a borrow pit to provide fill at another
8. living on borrowed time
a. living an unexpected extension of life
b. close to death
[Old English borgian; related to Old High German borgēn to take heed, give security]
ˈborrower n
Usage: The use of off after borrow was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable in informal contexts


(Biography) George (Henry). 1803–81, English traveller and writer. His best-known works are the semiautobiographical novels of Gypsy life and language, Lavengro (1851) and its sequel The Romany Rye (1857)


(ˈbɒr oʊ, ˈbɔr oʊ)
1. to take or obtain with the promise to return the same or an equivalent: to borrow a pencil.
2. to appropriate or introduce from another source or from a foreign source: to borrow a word from French.
3. to take or adopt as one's own: to borrow an idea.
4. (in subtraction) to take from one denomination and add to the next lower.
5. to borrow something.
borrow trouble, to do something unnecessary that may cause future harm or inconvenience.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English borgian to borrow, lend, derivative of borg a pledge]
bor′row•a•ble, adj.
bor′row•er, n.



If you borrow something that belongs to someone else, you use it for a period of time and then return it.

Could I borrow your car?
I borrowed this book from the library.

If you lend something you own to someone else, you allow them to have it or use it for a period of time. The past tense form and -ed participle of lend is lent.

I lent her £50.
Would you lend me your calculator?

Be Careful!
You don't normally talk about borrowing or lending things that can't move. Don't say, for example, 'Can I borrow your garage next week?' You say 'Can I use your garage next week?'

You can use our washing machine.

Similarly, you don't usually say 'He lent me his office while he was on holiday'. You say 'He let me use his office while he was on holiday'.

She brought them mugs of coffee and let them use her bath.


Past participle: borrowed
Gerund: borrowing

I borrow
you borrow
he/she/it borrows
we borrow
you borrow
they borrow
I borrowed
you borrowed
he/she/it borrowed
we borrowed
you borrowed
they borrowed
Present Continuous
I am borrowing
you are borrowing
he/she/it is borrowing
we are borrowing
you are borrowing
they are borrowing
Present Perfect
I have borrowed
you have borrowed
he/she/it has borrowed
we have borrowed
you have borrowed
they have borrowed
Past Continuous
I was borrowing
you were borrowing
he/she/it was borrowing
we were borrowing
you were borrowing
they were borrowing
Past Perfect
I had borrowed
you had borrowed
he/she/it had borrowed
we had borrowed
you had borrowed
they had borrowed
I will borrow
you will borrow
he/she/it will borrow
we will borrow
you will borrow
they will borrow
Future Perfect
I will have borrowed
you will have borrowed
he/she/it will have borrowed
we will have borrowed
you will have borrowed
they will have borrowed
Future Continuous
I will be borrowing
you will be borrowing
he/she/it will be borrowing
we will be borrowing
you will be borrowing
they will be borrowing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been borrowing
you have been borrowing
he/she/it has been borrowing
we have been borrowing
you have been borrowing
they have been borrowing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been borrowing
you will have been borrowing
he/she/it will have been borrowing
we will have been borrowing
you will have been borrowing
they will have been borrowing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been borrowing
you had been borrowing
he/she/it had been borrowing
we had been borrowing
you had been borrowing
they had been borrowing
I would borrow
you would borrow
he/she/it would borrow
we would borrow
you would borrow
they would borrow
Past Conditional
I would have borrowed
you would have borrowed
he/she/it would have borrowed
we would have borrowed
you would have borrowed
they would have borrowed


Slope on a putting green.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.borrow - get temporarily; "May I borrow your lawn mower?"
acquire, get - come into the possession of something concrete or abstract; "She got a lot of paintings from her uncle"; "They acquired a new pet"; "Get your results the next day"; "Get permission to take a few days off from work"
loan, lend - give temporarily; let have for a limited time; "I will lend you my car"; "loan me some money"
2.borrow - take up and practice as one's own
accept, take, have - receive willingly something given or offered; "The only girl who would have him was the miller's daughter"; "I won't have this dog in my house!"; "Please accept my present"


1. take on loan, touch (someone) for (slang), scrounge (informal), blag (slang), mooch (slang), cadge, use temporarily, take and return Can I borrow a pen please?
take on loan give, return, provide, supply, advance, loan, lend
2. steal, take, use, copy, adopt, appropriate, acquire, pinch (informal), pirate, poach, pilfer, filch, plagiarize I borrowed his words for my book's title.
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be" [William Shakespeare Hamlet]
استعاريُقارِضيَقْتَرِضُ، يَسْتَقْرِضُ
půjčit si
lainata joltakulta
fá aî láni
požičať si
sposoditisposoditi si
ödünç almakborç almak


[ˈbɒrəʊ] VTpedir prestado (from, of a) → tomar prestado; [+ idea etc] → adoptar, apropiarse; [+ word] → tomar (from de) may I borrow your car?¿me prestas el coche?
you can borrow it till I need itte lo presto hasta que lo necesite


[ˈbɒrəʊ] vt [+ money, book, pen] → emprunter
Can I borrow your pen? → Je peux emprunter ton stylo?
May I borrow your car? → Est-ce que je peux emprunter ta voiture?
to borrow sth from sb → emprunter qch à qn
I borrowed some money from a friend → J'ai emprunté de l'argent à un ami.
to be on borrowed time, to be living on borrowed time → ne plus en avoir pour longtemps


(→ sich dat) → borgen, sich (dat)leihen (from von); £5000 (from bank), carsich (dat)leihen; library bookausleihen; wordentlehnen; (fig) idea, methodologyborgen (inf), → übernehmen (from von); to borrow money from the bank/another countryKredit bei der Bank/eine Anleihe bei einem anderen Land aufnehmen; borrowed wordLehnwort nt; he is living on borrowed timeseine Uhr ist abgelaufen
(Math, in subtraction) → borgen (inf)
viborgen; (from bank) → Kredit maufnehmen; borrowing countrykreditnehmendes Land


[ˈbɒrəʊ] vt to borrow (from)prendere in prestito (da), farsi prestare (da); (idea, word) → prendere (da)
could I borrow your car? → puoi prestarmi la macchina?


(ˈborəu) verb
to take (something, often money) temporarily with the intention of returning it. He borrowed a book from the library.
ˈborrower noun
ˈborrowing noun

borrow from: I borrow money from a friend .
lend to: My friend lends money to me / My friend lends me money .


يُقارِض půjčit si låne borgen δανείζομαι pedir prestado lainata joltakulta emprunter posuditi prendere in prestito 借りる 빌리다 lenen låne pożyczyć pedir emprestado, tomar emprestado занимать låna ยืม ödünç almak mượn
References in classic literature ?
I hate to borrow as much as Mother does, and I knew Aunt March would croak, she always does, if you ask for a ninepence.
On the evening before that stormy Thursday night when the Reverend Curtis Hartman sat in the bell tower of the church waiting to look at her body, young Willard had gone to visit the teacher and to borrow a book.
When we had to borrow anything, or to send about word that there would be preaching at the sod schoolhouse, I was always the messenger.
It was alleged by some that he had sold out to his brother; it was believed by others that he had simply gone to Sacramento to borrow money on his share, in order to continue the improvements on his own responsibility.
Another phenomenon, still more strikingly modern, was a package of lucifer matches, which, in old times, would have been thought actually to borrow their instantaneous flame from the nether fires of Tophet.
She could no longer borrow from the future to help her through the present grief.
And from that pallor of the dead, we borrow the expressive hue of the shroud in which we wrap them.
They had been in the neighborhood so short a time that they could not get much credit, and there was no one except Szedvilas from whom they could borrow even a little.
It's like jumping from one bog to another, all through a swamp; borrow of one to pay another, and then borrow of another to pay one,--and these confounded notes falling due before a man has time to smoke a cigar and turn round,--dunning letters and dunning messages,--all scamper and hurry-scurry.
If we can cross the stream and get a good start, and borrow a couple of horses from somebody's pasture to use for a few hours, we shall be safe enough.
Of the seven hundred and fifty students in the university at the time I am writing of, only eighty belonged to the five corps, and it is only these corps that do the dueling; occasionally other students borrow the arms and battleground of the five corps in order to settle a quarrel, but this does not happen every dueling-day.
That law trial was a slow business -- appeared like they warn't ever going to get started on it; so every now and then I'd borrow two or three dollars off of the judge for him, to keep from getting a cowhiding.