Legal Dictionary


Definition of loan


    Middle English from Old Norse ln, akin to Old English ln



loan (plural loans)

  1. (banking, finance) A sum of money or other valuables or consideration which an individual, group or other legal entity borrows from another individual, group or legal entity (the latter often being a financial institution) with the condition that it be returned or repaid at a later date (sometimes with interest).

    He got a five grand loan.

  2. The contract and array of legal and/or ethical obligations surrounding a loan.

    He made a payment on his loan.

  3. The permission to borrow any item.

    Thank you for the loan of your lawn mower.


to loan (third-person singular simple present loans, present participle loaning, simple past and past participle loaned)

  1. (US) To lend. This usage is confined to the US (or perhaps parts thereof) and elsewhere is ungrammatical (loan being the noun, and lend the verb).

    2006: When you loan somebody something, they have the responsibility to safeguard it. - Judge Judy (unidentified episode, but frequently heard from her as a verb)

Derived terms


  • Alphagram: alno
  • NOLA

Further reading

A loan is a type of debt. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower.

In a loan, the borrower initially receives or borrows an amount of money, called the principal, from the lender, and is obligated to pay back or repay an equal amount of money to the lender at a later time. Typically, the money is paid back in regular installments, or partial repayments; in an annuity, each installment is the same amount. The loan is generally provided at a cost, referred to as interest on the debt, which provides an incentive for the lender to engage in the loan. In a legal loan, each of these obligations and restrictions is enforced by contract, which can also place the borrower under additional restrictions known as loan covenants. Although this article focuses on monetary loans, in practice any material object might be lent.

Acting as a provider of loans is one of the principal tasks for financial institutions. For other institutions, issuing of debt contracts such as bonds is a typical source of funding.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     landed property
2.     common stock
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     lex fori
6.     status quo
7.     buggery
8.     conclusive presumption
9.     interlocutory
10.     writ of seizure and sale