owe

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owe it to (someone or oneself) to (do something)

To have an obligation or duty to do something for the sake of someone or oneself. We owe it to our parents to look after them as they get older. You need to stop worrying about work—you owe it to yourself to enjoy the weekends with your family.
See also: owe

pound of flesh

A debt or punishment, especially a cruel or unreasonable one, that is harshly insisted upon. An allusion to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demands he be paid the pound of flesh promised as collateral for a loan. The victim of the incident, while only sustaining superficial injuries, is demanding his pound of flesh from the nightclub owner following the court ruling. Be very careful about taking out loans that you can't repay right away, or you will have collectors coming after you for a pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound

owe (one) one

To be indebted to one for something they did. Thanks for not ratting me out to the boss about being late this morning—I owe you one! OK, you can borrow my car, but you owe me one!
See also: one, owe

think the world owes (one) a living

To believe that one is entitled to financial wellbeing or a comfortable life without having to work for it. Our parents worked every day of their lives to give us a better, more comfortable life, so it isn't a complete surprise that kids of my generation grew up thinking the world owes them a living.
See also: living, owe, think, world

owe (something) to (someone or something)

1. To be obliged to give or pay something back to someone or something else. I owe a new bike to David because I got his run over by a street cleaner. We owe about $1,500 to the bank for the loan we used to pay for our wedding.
2. To attribute one's possession or acquisition of something to someone or something else. I truly owe my happiness to you—I love you so much. The country owes its wealth and global influence to the vast mineral reserves buried in its hills.
See also: owe

owe (one) a debt of gratitude

To be extremely thankful or grateful to one for something one did. I owe my parents a debt of gratitude for all their support over the years. Without them, there's no way I could have gotten where I am today. She really went above and beyond to help me get set up in this city, so I owe her a huge debt of gratitude.
See also: debt, gratitude, of, owe

owe a debt of gratitude to (someone)

To be extremely thankful or grateful to one for something one did. I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents for all their support over the years. Without them, there's no way I could have gotten where I am today. She really went above and beyond to help me get set up in this city, so I owe a huge debt of gratitude to her.
See also: debt, gratitude, of, owe

I owe you one.

Inf. Thank you, now I owe you a favor.; I owe you something similar in return. Bob: I put the extra copy of the book on your desk. Sue: Thanks, I owe you one. Bill: Let me pay for your drink. Bob: Thanks a lot, I owe you one.
See also: one, owe

owe someone a debt of gratitude

a large amount of thanks owed to someone who deserves gratitude. (Actually payment of the debt is owed.) We owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done for us.
See also: debt, gratitude, of, owe

owe something (to someone) (for something)

to be under obligation to pay or repay someone for something. I owe forty dollars to Ann for the dinner. I owe money for the gift to Ann. I still owe money for the gift. Do you still owe money to Ann?

*pound of flesh

Fig. a payment or punishment that involves suffering and sacrifice on the part of the person being punished. (*Typically: give someone ~; owe someone ~; pay someone ~; take ~.) He wants revenge. He won't be satisfied until he takes his pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound

pound of flesh

A debt whose payment is harshly insisted on, as in The other members of the cartel all want their pound of flesh from Brazil. This expression alludes to the scene in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (4:1) where the moneylender Shylock demands the pound of flesh promised him in payment for a loan, and Portia responds that he may have it but without an ounce of blood (since blood was not promised). [c. 1600]
See also: flesh, of, pound

think something/someone owes you a living

If someone thinks someone or something owes them a living, they think that person or thing should give them the money they need to live. Nobody owes you a living — you need to work hard for yourself. He was given everything, and grew up thinking the world owes him a living.

owe someone one

INFORMAL
If you owe someone one, you feel very grateful to them for something they have done for you. `I've got the engine going again.' `Thanks, mate — I owe you one!'
See also: one, owe, someone

owe someone one

feel indebted to someone. informal
1990 Paul Auster The Music of Chance ‘I guess I owe you one,’ Floyd said, patting Nashe's back in an awkward show of gratitude.
See also: one, owe, someone

someone or something owes you a living

used to express disapproval of someone who expects to receive financial support or other benefits without doing any work.

(think) the world ˌowes you a ˈliving

(disapproving) (think that) society is responsible for doing everything for you and you should not have to make any effort yourself: Why don’t you go out and get a job? The world doesn’t owe you a living, you know.
See also: living, owe, world

owe to

v.
1. To be in debt by some amount to someone: I owe $100 to my brother.
2. To have something because of something or someone else: The family owed its wealth to oil. I owe my rosy complexion to my mother.
See also: owe
References in periodicals archive ?
The figures also reveal HMRC are owed more than PS34,000 for VAT and employee tax and national insurance.
A company called Peregrine 8 Ltd, established in January 2018 with Mr Carrick's wife Annabelle Lloyd as the holder of the sole PS1 share, is owed PS340,200.
The documents show the Holiday Inn, in Lime Street, was also owed PS12,000.
? K Construction (Scotland) Edinburgh, owed PS1916 to two workers.
" He said that the outstanding amount was down 15 per cent from the BD141.4m owed in December 2013 and BD137.1m at the end of December last year.
In Cardiff, pounds 30,000 was left owed to a Mr Dixon, care of Prime Law Solicitors on Cathedral Road, while more than pounds 8,000 was owed toPRcompanyEffectiveCommunication, based in Pontcanna.
Newcastle City Council is owed more than pounds 10 million, and in the past year has evicted 151 people.
M pursued administrative appeals, arguing that he owed the government no money, because the Service did not move to enforce the settlement agreement.
In 2015, consumers held debts of PS5,898 on average each, while in 2014 the average amount owed was PS4,412 - an increase of 38 per cent in just two years.
JJB Sports owed PS600,000 to the Football Association of Wales, when it collapsed, it has emerged.
Dozens of supply firms in the Midlands, including plumbers, electricians, window companies and painters and decorators, were caught up in the collapse of the Jewellery Quarter firm, with some owed substantial five-figure sums.
They include: AW Lumb Ltd, of Tamworth, owed pounds 59,117; Alpha Wastecare of Hockley, owed pounds 15,150; Avonside Roofing West Midlands, of Cannock, owed pounds 37,202; and BJ Bird Plasterers of Cannock, owed pounds 18,232.
The Washingtons still owed 57,000 on it and a trade-in would have left them with $5,500 on top of the new car note.
In 1990, B took a second mortgage on his home to secure a debt that C owed to the Bank.