borrowing [bor-oh-ing, bawr-] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for borrowing on noun

  1. the act of one who borrows.
  2. the process by which something, as a word or custom, is adopted or absorbed.
  3. the result of such a process; something borrowed, as a foreign word or phrase or a custom.

Origin of borrowing Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at borrow, -ing1 Related formsnon·bor·row·ing, adjectivepre·bor·row·ing, nounun·bor·row·ing, adjective borrow [bor-oh, bawr-oh] verb (used with object)

  1. to take or obtain with the promise to return the same or an equivalent: Our neighbor borrowed my lawn mower.
  2. to use, appropriate, or introduce from another source or from a foreign source: to borrow an idea from the opposition; to borrow a word from French.
  3. Arithmetic. (in subtraction) to take from one denomination and add to the next lower.

verb (used without object)

  1. to borrow something: Don’t borrow unless you intend to repay.
  2. Nautical.
    1. to sail close to the wind; luff.
    2. to sail close to the shore.
  3. Golf. to putt on other than a direct line from the lie of the ball to the hole, to compensate for the incline or roll of the green.


  1. borrow trouble, to do something that is unnecessary and may cause future harm or inconvenience.

Origin of borrow before 900; Middle English borowen, Old English borgian to borrow, lend, derivative of borg a pledge; akin to Dutch borg a pledge, borgen to charge, give credit, German Borg credit, borgen to take on creditRelated formsbor·row·a·ble, adjectivebor·row·er, nounnon·bor·rowed, adjectivenon·bor·row·er, nouno·ver·bor·row, verbun·bor·rowed, adjectiveCan be confusedborrow lend loanSynonyms for borrow See more synonyms for on 2. acquire, take, get; copy, pirate, plagiarize. Related Words for borrowing financing Examples from the Web for borrowing Contemporary Examples of borrowing

  • “He is borrowing my voice to tell you this story,” she told the crowd.

    A Sunni-Shia Love Story Imperiled by al Qaeda

    Ruth Michaelson

    December 26, 2014

  • Generally, the better the rating, the lower the borrowing cost for the issuer.

    Fact-Checking the Sunday Shows: November 9

    November 10, 2014

  • Borrowing language from his father, Paul said he does not wear his religion “on my sleeve.”

    Is Rand Paul Christian Enough for the GOP?

    Olivia Nuzzi

    August 2, 2014

  • Ravitch has said the borrowing would have been temporary and would have come in exchange for a more transparent budget.

    Powerbroker Richard Ravitch Thinks New York Might Be Doomed

    Josh Robin

    April 26, 2014

  • In hopes of standing out amid the Easter crazy, some churches are borrowing themes from popular culture.

    Can’t Fill the House On Easter? Try Handing Out Gadgets

    Matthew Paul Turner

    April 20, 2014

  • Historical Examples of borrowing

  • He could scarcely chide her for borrowing, grotesque as the borrowing was.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

  • It was the idea of borrowing the six months’ back rent from him.


    Emile Zola

  • I hope to prove that if any borrowing was done, it was done by Flagg.

    Astounding Stories of Super-Science, August 1930


  • You understand a man like that hasn’t the ghost of a chance when it comes to borrowing clothes.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • “Borrowing, Boyne—they used the word ‘borrowed,'” Edwards put in.

    The Million-Dollar Suitcase

    Alice MacGowan

  • British Dictionary definitions for borrowing borrow verb

    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 to putt the ball uphill of the direct path to the hole
    5. (intr) golf (of a ball) to deviate from a straight path because of the slope of the ground


    1. golf a deviation of a ball from a straight path because of the slope of the grounda left borrow
    2. material dug from a borrow pit to provide fill at another
    3. living on borrowed time
      1. living an unexpected extension of life
      2. close to death

    Derived Formsborrower, nounWord Origin for borrow Old English borgian; related to Old High German borgēn to take heed, give securityusage The use of off after borrow was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable in informal contexts Borrow noun

    1. 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)

    Word Origin and History for borrowing borrow v.

    Old English borgian “to lend, be surety for,” from Proto-Germanic *borg “pledge” (cf. Old English borg “pledge, security, bail, debt,” Old Norse borga “to become bail for, guarantee,” Middle Dutch borghen “to protect, guarantee,” Old High German boragen “to beware of,” German borgen “to borrow; to lend”), from PIE *bhergh- “to hide, protect” (see bury). Sense shifted in Old English to “borrow,” apparently on the notion of collateral deposited as security for something borrowed. Related: Borrowed; borrowing.

    Idioms and Phrases with borrowing borrow

    In addition to the idiom beginning with borrow

  • borrow trouble
  • also see:

  • beg, borrow, or steal
  • on borrowed time
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