Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun British English pronunciation: debt /det/ 
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] an amount of money that you owe

    By this time we had debts of over £15,000.

    run up a debt (=let it increase):

    She had run up debts of nearly £10,000.

    pay (off)/repay a debt:

    Many people experience difficulty in paying off their debts.

    clear/settle a debt (=pay all of it):

    She agreed to settle her sister's debts.

    cancel/write off a debt (=decide that it does not have to be paid):

    The bank finally agreed to cancel the debt.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] a situation in which you owe money to other people
      be in debt (to someone):

      I don't like being in debt to anyone.

      go/get/run into debt:

      She was terrified of getting into debt.

      heavily/deeply in debt:

      Many students are heavily in debt.

  2. 2
    [singular] an obligation to be grateful to someone because they have done something for you
    owe a debt of gratitude to someone:

    I owe a debt of gratitude to my father, who has always supported me.

food rave

a very large party where people eat, sell or share many different types of food, usually held outside or in a large public building

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


old and no longer in good condition

Open Dictionary

dead white (European) male

a man … whose achievements may have been overestimated because he belonged to the gender and ethnic group … that was dominant at the time

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog