Borrow, lend and loan: What’s the difference?

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It originates from Middle English –borowen

Used as Verb

  1. To take something by promising to return which is same or equivalent

“I borrowed electric guitar for the concert at last minute.”

  1. To use from another source

“His ideas about dining chairs are not original; they are borrowed from the magazine.”

  1. (Arithmatic) to take from denomination and to add to lower


It originates from Middle English –lenden

Used as Verb

  1. Allow use of something of your own on condition that it or its equivalent is returned

“Could you lend me some money? I promise to return them back.”

  1. To give helpfully

“He lends his contribution through Academy’s aid for floods.”

  1. To furnish

“Distances lend enhancement of views”


It originates from Middle English –lon(e)

Used as noun

  1. Act of lending something temporarily for use

“I had, loan of a book”

  1. Something given on terms of interests

“Giving loans on interest is a profitable business.”

Used as verb

  1. To lend (money) on interest

“I asked couple of banks if they could loan me some money for my business”

So, in summary, borrow is used by the one who receives in the transaction. Lend and loan are used by the giver in the transaction almost interchangeably. In these times, lending something is not much attached with interest whereas loan is attached with interest.

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