Borrow in different languages

Borrow in Different Languages

Discover 'Borrow' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'borrow' holds a significant place in our daily lives, allowing us to use someone else's belongings temporarily with the understanding that we will return them. This simple act of sharing and trust is a fundamental aspect of human relationships and has been practiced across various cultures and societies throughout history.

Interestingly, the English word 'borrow' comes from the Old English 'borgian,' which means 'to lend' or 'to borrow.' This linguistic quirk highlights the dual nature of the concept, where both lending and borrowing are intertwined.

Understanding the translation of 'borrow' in different languages can open up new avenues of communication and cultural exchange. For instance, the French translation of 'borrow' is 'emprunter,' while in Spanish, it is 'prestar,' which might seem counterintuitive as 'prestar' actually means 'to lend' in English. Meanwhile, in German, 'borrow' is translated as 'leihen,' which is similar to the Old English root of the word.

Discover the many ways to say 'borrow' in different languages and immerse yourself in the richness of linguistic and cultural diversity.


Borrow in Sub-Saharan African Languages

The Afrikaans word "leen" is derived from the Middle Dutch word "leen," which also means "loan" or "fiefdom."
The word "መበደር" ("borrow") in Amharic evolved from the Ge'ez term "በዳር" ("to take something on loan").
The Hausa word "ara" also means "to request" or "to beg".
The word "ibiri" also connotes "to beg" in the Igbo language
"Hisambotra" is also used to mean "to steal or take someone's belongings without their permission".
Nyanja (Chichewa)kongola
Kongola' can also mean 'to lend' in Nyanja.
Kukwereta, meaning "to borrow", is also the Shona word for a type of basket made from woven reeds.
"Deynsasho" in Somali has the additional meaning of "receiving a gift that is expected to be returned later."
Alima also refers to a request from a senior individual to a junior who is then not allowed to refuse.
The word "azima" can also refer to a loan or a debt, and it is derived from the Arabic word "azm," which means "intention" or "determination."
"Mboleka" in Xhosa can also refer to the act of asking or requesting something as a loan.
The Yoruba word "yawo" also means "to travel" or "to wander".
Ukuboleka is also used in the context of borrowing concepts or ideas.
Bambaraka singa
Ewedo nu
Twi (Akan)bɔ besea

Borrow in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

The word "اقتراض" (borrow) comes from the Arabic root قرض (qard), which means "to cut" or "to divide", as borrowing involves taking a portion of something from someone else.
The Hebrew word “לִלווֹת” can refer to both an escort during travel as well as borrowing money, sharing common root and meaning of “accompanying”.
Pashtoپور اخستل
Etymology: from the Persian word "قرض" (qarz), meaning "loan" or "indebtedness."
The word "اقتراض" (borrow) comes from the Arabic root قرض (qard), which means "to cut" or "to divide", as borrowing involves taking a portion of something from someone else.

Borrow in Western European Languages

The word "huazoj" in Albanian also means "to request" or "to ask for something".}
The root word “hile” in Mailegatu (meaning borrow in Basque) can also mean to cheat, deceive, or take advantage.
Catalandemanar prestat
demanar prestat in Catalan comes from the Latin phrase "de manu praestare," which means to give or provide something from one's own hand.
The verb 'posuditi' initially implied 'to lend', with 'borrow' being an extension of that meaning
"Låne" in Danish originally meant "lean", but now also means "lend" and "rent"
"lenen" also means "to grant a loan" in Dutch.
"Borrow" derives from the Old English word "borgian", meaning "to give security" or "to go security for."
"Emprunter" originally meant "mettre en gage" (to pawn) and thus "prêter" (to lend), and has only come to mean "prendre en prêt" (to borrow) since the 13th century.
"Lien" also means "lease" and is related to the English words "loan" and "lend".
Galicianpedir prestado
"Pedir prestado" can also mean "beg" or "ask for alms" in Galician.
The verb "leihen" is derived from a Proto-Germanic root meaning "to give".
Láni (borrow): also used to mean "to take (something) as a loan (in order to get something else)"
Irishfháil ar iasacht
"Prestito" can also mean "spell" or "incantation" in Italian, derived from Latin "praestitum" meaning "something done in advance".
The word "léinen" also means "lend" and derives from the Old French word "loaner".
A possible etymology of the word is its Arabic cognate 'taslīf', where it means a loan or a draft.
The word "låne" in Norwegian also means "to lend", as in "I lend you my umbrella".
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)pedir emprestado
The Portuguese verb "pedir emprestado" derives from Latin "petere", meaning "to ask," and "emptus," meaning "bought" or "borrowed."
Scots Gaeliciasad
The word "iasad" can also refer to a "loan", "debt" or "credit" in various contexts within Scots Gaelic.
Spanishpedir prestado
The verb "pedir prestado" can also mean "to ask for a loan" or "to request something on loan."
Swedish låna, German leihen, and English loan likely come from an ancient Germanic root meaning 'set low'.
In Welsh, 'benthyg' can also be used as a noun to refer to an annual rent or fee, and in older texts it could mean a loan of goods.

Borrow in Eastern European Languages

The word 'пазычаць' ('borrow') is derived from the Proto-Slavic word 'paziti' ('to care for'), which is also the root of the Russian word 'забота' ('care').
The word "pozajmiti" in Bosnian derives from the Old Slavic word "po" (meaning "from") and "zajam" (meaning "loan").
Bulgarianвзимам на заем
The verb 'взимам на заем' ('borrow') is a calque from the Russian 'брать взаём' ('take for mutual benefit').
Czechpůjčit si
Cognate with the Russian "požičiť" (to ask for), "půjčit si" can also mean "to lend".
The word "laenama" is derived from the Proto-Finnic word *laina-, which also means "debt".
"Lainata" is a Finnish word that originally meant "to give" but has come to mean "to borrow" over time.
"Kölcsön" in Hungarian, meaning "borrow," originally meant "exchange" and is related to the word "csere" (trade, exchange).
The verb "aizņemties" is derived from the verb "ņemt" ("to take") and the prefix "aiz-" ("away"), indicating that something is taken away temporarily.
The Lithuanian word "skolintis" is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root "*skoleh₁-", meaning "to owe" or "to be in debt."
The word "позајми" also means "lend" in Macedonian, a dual meaning not found in English.
The word "pożyczać" comes from the Old Polish word "pozyczyć", which meant "to lend".
"Împrumuta" comes from the Latin verb "promutuo" and is related to "promovere" and "pro" (forward) and "mutare" (to move).
The Russian word "заимствовать" also has the alternate meaning of "to learn (a language, from someone)".
The verb позајмити, also implies to lend, just like the French verb prêter can.
Some of the Slavic languages derive their word for borrow from an old root for "take" or "receive".
Sloveniansposoditi si
The word "sposoditi si" is derived from the Proto-Slavic word *sodъ, meaning "court" or "judgment.
The word "позичати" comes from the Proto-Slavic word *posъdъ*, meaning "to send, to put down."

Borrow in South Asian Languages

The word "ধার" in Bengali also means "edge" or "sharpness".
The verb 'to borrow', in the Gujarati language 'ઉધાર', derives its origin from the Sanskrit root 'uddhri', which signifies 'to raise up or elevate' or 'to deliver or save'. It also carries an alternative connotation of financial aid, wherein a lender provides money or goods on credit with an expectation of future reimbursement.
The word "उधार" (borrow) comes from the Sanskrit root "ऋण" (debt), and can also mean "credit" or "loan".
ಎರವಲು (eravalu) may have derived from the verb ಎರು (eru) meaning 'throw', with the suffix -ವಲು (-valu) indicating an action.
Malayalamകടം വാങ്ങുക
Marathiकर्ज घेणे
The word "कर्ज घेणे" in Marathi comes from the Sanskrit word "ऋण" (ṛṇa), which means "debt" or "loan".
Nepaliorrowण लिनु
The word "orrowण लिनु" in Nepali has Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit roots, also found in other languages like Hindi and Marathi.
The Punjabi word 'ਉਧਾਰ' can also mean 'credit,' a 'loan,' or a 'debt'.
Sinhala (Sinhalese)ණයට ගන්න
Also means obtain on credit and buy on hire-purchase.
Tamilகடன் வாங்க
கடன் வாங்க is a phrase that means 'to borrow' in Tamil, and it can also be used to refer to 'debt' or 'loan'.
Teluguరుణం తీసుకోండి

Borrow in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)
借 (jie) also means 'to lend' in Chinese.
Chinese (Traditional)
In Traditional Chinese, the character "借" ("borrow") can also refer to "a loan," "owing," "using temporarily," "pretext," "excuse," or "opportunity."
The verb 'かりて' derives from the noun 'かり' which means loan.
빌다 is also used to refer to the process of building something or creating something new.
Mongolianзээл авах
The Mongolian word зээл авах means "to borrow", but it can also mean "to lend" or "to receive."
Myanmar (Burmese)ချေးယူ
The root of the word ချေး comes from Old Mon သြေ (srei) meaning “to exchange

Borrow in South East Asian Languages

The word "meminjam" is derived from the Proto-Austronesian word "*pəmsan" meaning "to ask for something".
The word "nyilih" in Javanese can also mean "to imitate" or "to copy".
The word ខ្ចី (khcii) is etymologically related to the verb សង (song), meaning "to pay back, to give back".
The Lao word "ກູ້ຢືມ" is also used as an expression for "to beg for" or "to ask for assistance" in a formal setting.
The word "pinjam" is derived from the Proto-Austronesian word *pajam, meaning "to take something from someone for a short period of time".
The word "ยืม" also means "to lend" in Thai, as the act of borrowing and lending are two sides of the same coin.
The word "vay" in Vietnamese has various other meanings, including "to request assistance" and "to seek protection."
Filipino (Tagalog)humiram

Borrow in Central Asian Languages

Azerbaijaniborc almaq
In Azerbaijani, "borc almaq" ultimately descends from the Old Turkic verb "borčla". It originally meant "to have a debt" or "to be obliged".
Kazakhқарыз алу
The Kazakh word "қарыз алу" comes from the Persian word "qarż", meaning "debt"
Kyrgyzкарыз алуу
The word "карыз алуу" can also mean "to take a loan" or "to be in debt" in Kyrgyz.
Tajikқарз гирифтан
The word "қарз гирифтан" is a Persian loanword in Tajik, and is used in both the literal sense of "to borrow" as well as the idiomatic sense of "to get into debt".
Turkmenkarz alyň
Uzbekqarz olish
The word "qarz olish" in Uzbek is derived from the Persian word "qarz", meaning "debt". It can also refer to the act of lending money.
Uyghurقەرز ئېلىش

Borrow in Pacific Languages

'Aiʻē' also refers to a type of Hawaiian canoe.
Tarewa can also refer to a type of fishing net or a method of weaving.
The word 'nono' in Samoan can also mean 'to take without permission'.
Tagalog (Filipino)manghiram
The word 'manghiram' can also be used to mean 'to ask for a favor' or 'to invite someone over'.

Borrow in American Indigenous Languages

Aymaramayt'atañ mayiña

Borrow in International Languages

"Prunti" also means "to receive" in the sense of getting a gift or a loan.
Latinhorum mutuo postulaverit
Latin "horum" and "mutuo" also mean "of these" and "mutually" respectively, adding nuance to "borrow" as "one of these things (books, money, tools, etc.) I have that I am willing to share with you for a while on the condition that you give it back to me later."

Borrow in Others Languages

The verb 'δανείζομαι' is used in the sense of "borrow (money)" in modern Greek. However, in ancient and later Byzantine Greek it also meant "spend money" and "pay (someone)" in a more general sense
The word "qiv" is originally used to refer to "exchange for the time being in order to return, as of tools", with "borrow" as its secondary meaning
The verb 'deyngirtin' in Kurdish, meaning 'to borrow,' etymologically derives from the Indo-European root *deŋǵʰ-, referring to the act of grasping or taking hold of something.
Turkishödünç almak
The word "ödünç almak" also has the meaning of "to take on loan" in Turkish.
"Mboleka" in Xhosa can also refer to the act of asking or requesting something as a loan.
"באָרגן" can also mean "to trust" or "to rely on".
Ukuboleka is also used in the context of borrowing concepts or ideas.
Assameseধাৰ কৰা
Aymaramayt'atañ mayiña
Bhojpuriउधार मांगल
Dhivehiއަނބުރާ ދޭގޮތަށް ނެގުން
Filipino (Tagalog)humiram
Kurdish (Sorani)وەرگرتن
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯋꯥꯏꯕ
Odia (Oriya)orrow ଣ

Click on a letter to browse words starting with that letter