Revised as of 19 August 2017
Polonius: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be…
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”
– Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75–77
I borrowed more trouble than I bargained for in exploring the word confusion that is borrow vs. lend vs. loan. So, lend me your ears as I expound upon this confusion and loan me a moment of your time.
And oh, brother. It just goes to show how flexible language is as words, their usage, their spellings, and more goes in and out of fashion, borrowing from other cultures while loaning words of its own to yet other cultures.
My father-in-law and I used to get into discussions about words, words that were common during Shakespeare’s day that American still use but that had been forgotten by the English. Words that sailed back and forth across the ocean, changing their spellings.
It’s a fascinating conundrum for those who adore words, and frustrating for writers, lol, for loving words as a single entity is not the same as loving to use words.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: borrow, lend, and loan|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Verb, intransitive & transitive||Verb, intransitive & transitive||Noun 1, 2;
Verb 1, intransitive & transitive
|You borrow FROM
To take or obtain something from someone
[Nautical] To sail close to the wind
[Nautical] To sail close to the shore.
[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
To use, appropriate, or introduce from another source or from a foreign source
[Arithmetic; in subtraction] To take from one denomination and add to the next lower
|You lend objects TO
Allow a person or organization the use of a sum of money under an agreement to pay it back later, typically with interest
Contribute or add (something, especially a quality) to
[Lend oneself to] Accommodate or adapt oneself to
[Lend itself to; of a thing] Be suitable for
|You lend money (if a verb) TO
The act of lending 1
Something lent or furnished on condition of being returned, especially a sum of money lent at interest
Short for loanword
The temporary duty of a person transferred to another job for a limited time
[Scottish; usually in place names] A lane or narrow path, especially one leading to open ground 2
To give money on condition that it is returned and that interest is paid for its temporary use
To lend (money) at interest
Borrow (a sum of money or item of property)
Don’t borrow unless you intend to repay.
These gloves, another borrow from the Laser class, have an astonishing “grippiness” to them (Sail Nut).
to borrow an idea from the opposition
to borrow a word from French
The bank lends only to its current customers.
The building should lend itself to inexpensive remodeling.
Distance lends enchantment to the view.
Hey, can you lend me a hand with this?
Stewart asked me to lend him my car.
We would lend the pictures to each museum in turn.
No one would lend him the money.
The smile lent his face a boyish charm.
John stiffly lent himself to her enthusiastic embraces.
Bay windows lend themselves to blinds.
George gave me the loan of a book.
We got a loan for the house.
We can loan you Simmons from accounting.
Borrowers can take out a loan for $84,000 at ten percent interest.
She offered to buy him dinner in return for the loan of the car.
Who’s the loan holder?
Just follow down Whitehouse Loan. You can’t miss it.
Bring those cows in from the loan.
I have over fifteen books on loan from the library.
It’s on loan.
Paul loaned Jimmi the money to buy a guitar.
Jenny loaned George $50.
The bank can loan him the money at five-percent interest.
The word processor was loaned to us by the theater.
He knew Rob would not loan him money.
Mary Ellen loaned me her bike for the weekend.
Nearby villages loaned clothing and other supplies to the flood-ravaged town.
|Adjective: borrowable, nonborrowed
Noun: borrower, nonborrower
Noun: lender, lending
Verb: interlend, interlent, interlending, overlend, overlent, overlending, relend, relent, relending
|Adjective: loanable, unloaning
Noun: loanee, loaner, loaning, unloaned
|History of the Word:|
|First known use: before 900
Middle English borowen, Old English borgian meaning to borrow, lend, and derivative of and akin to the Dutch borg meaning a pledge also the Dutch borgen meaning to charge, give credit, German Borg meaning credit, borgen meaning to take on credit.
|First known use: before 900
Middle English lenden, a variant — and originally the past tense — of lenen, Old English lǣnan (related to Dutch lenen, German lehnen, Old Norse lāna), derivative of lǣn meaning loan.
It’s related to Lehnen, Old Norse lān.
|1 First known use: 1150-1200
Middle English lone, lane (noun), Old English lān from the Old Norse lān; replacing its cognate, Old English lǣn meaning loan, grant, relates to Dutch leen meaning loan, German Lehen meaning fief.
Middle English, Old English lone.
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?