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verb borrow pronunciation in American English /ˈbɔroʊ/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participleborrowing
past tenseborrowed
past participleborrowed
  1. 1
    [transitive] to receive and use something that belongs to someone else, and promise to give it back to them later

    Can I borrow your calculator?

    borrow something from someone/something:

    I borrowed a camera from Alex.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to borrow money, especially from a bank, and agree to pay it back at a particular time. Money that you borrow is called a loan

      We borrowed $20,000 to start up the business.

      borrow heavily:

      He'd borrowed heavily to pay for the car.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to use an idea, method, phrase, etc. that was first used by another person or in another place or situation
    borrow something from someone/something:

    His speech was, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, "full of sound and fury."

    English is full of words that have been borrowed from other languages.

    borrow freely/heavily:

    His designs borrow freely from ancient Egyptian art.




a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

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