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owe / ō/ • v. [tr.] have an obligation to pay or repay (something, esp. money) in return for something received: they have denied they owe money to the company | I owe you 25 cents. ∎  owe something, esp. money, to (someone): I owe you for the taxi. ∎  be under a moral obligation to give someone (gratitude, respect, etc.): I owe it to him to explain what's happened | I owe you an apology. ∎  (owe something to) have something because of (someone or something): he owed his success not to chance but to insight. ∎  be indebted to someone or something for (something): I owe my life to you.PHRASES: owe it to oneself need to do something to protect one's own interests: you owe it to yourself to take care of your body.owe someone one inf. feel indebted to someone for a favor done: thanks, I owe you one for this.owes someone a living used to express disapproval of someone who expects to receive financial support or other benefits without doing any work: they think the world owes them a living.