A common-law action for the recovery of a fixed and definite sum of money or for a sum of money which can be ascertained from fixed data by computation or is capable of being readily reduced to certainty. 1 Am J2d Actions § 20; that which is owing to a person under any form of obligation or promise, including obligations arising under contract, obligations imposed by law without contract, even judgments. Anno: 12 ALR2d 799. In the broad sense of the term, "debt" includes a claim for unliquidated damages. Anno: 69 L Ed 380. In the ordinary sense, "debt" is not merely a promise to pay money but is an unconditional and legally enforceable obligation for the payment of money; it involves the relationship of debtor and creditor, or of borrower and lender. Evans v Kroh (Ky) 284 SW2d 329, 58 ALR2d 1446. In a narrower sense, a "debt" is an obligation arising out of contract, express or implied, which entitles the creditor unconditionally to receive from the debtor a sum of money which the debtor is under legal, equitable, or moral obligation to pay without regard to any future contingency. Evans v Kroh (Ky) 284 SW2d 329, 58 ALR2d 1446. An action is one for a "debt," sufficient for the issuance of a writ of garnishment, where it is based on rescission of a contract because of fraud of the seller, and seeks recovery back of a specified sum paid under the contract, even though actual rescission of the contract before institution of the suit was prevented by absence of the defendant, and recovery of damages for fraud and deceit is requested in the alternative. Cleveland v San Antonio Bldg. & L. Asso. 148 Tex 211, 223 SW2d 226, 12 ALR2d 781. The word "debt," appearing in a constitution or statute fixing a debt limit for municipalities, does not have a fixed legal signification but is used in different statutes and constitutions in senses varying from a very restricted to a very general signification. Its meaning, therefore, in any particular statute or constitution is to be determined by construction. 38 Am J1st Mun Corp § 410. Unless absolutely required, the words "debt" or "liability" in debt limitation provisions should not be so interpreted as to paralyze the legal functioning of municipal corporations which have reached or exceeded their existing debt limits. Moores v Springfield, 144 Me 54, 64 A2d 569, 16 ALR2d 502. A sum of money which is payable is a debt, without regard to whether it be payable presently or at a future time. Hence, a debt may be a debt due or a debt not due. State ex rel. Rice v Wilkinson, 82 Mont 15, 264 P 679, 683.

Ballentine's law dictionary. . 1998.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • debt — n [Old French dette, ultimately from Latin debita, plural of debitum debt, from neuter of debitus, past participle of debere to owe] 1: something owed: as a: a specific sum of money or a performance due another esp. by agreement (as a loan… …   Law dictionary

  • debt — W2S2 [det] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: dette, from Latin debitum, from debere to owe ] 1.) a sum of money that a person or organization owes debt of ▪ This over ambitious strategy has saddled them with debts of around $3,000,000.… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Debt — • That which is owed or due to another; in general, anything which one person is under an obligation to pay or render to another Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Debt     Debt      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • debt — [ det ] noun *** 1. ) count an amount of money that you owe: By this time we had debts of over $15,000. run up a debt (=let it increase): She had run up debts of nearly $10,000. pay (off)/repay a debt: Many people experience difficulty in paying… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Debt — Debt, n. [OE. dette, F. dette, LL. debita, fr. L. debitus owed, p. p. of debere to owe, prop., to have on loan; de + habere to have. See {Habit}, and cf. {Debit}, {Due}.] 1. That which is due from one person to another, whether money, goods, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • debt — debt; debt·less; debt·or; in·debt; in·debt·ed; in·debt·ed·ness; in·debt·ment; …   English syllables

  • debt — debt, indebtedness, obligation, liability, debit, arrear mean something, and especially a sum of money, that is owed another. Debt usually implies that the amount is owed in return for goods, property, or services and can be definitely computed… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • debt — A liability on a claim (SA Under Title 11 U.S.C. Section 101: (12) The term debt means liability on a claim. United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • debt — [det] n. [altered (after L) < ME & OFr dette < L debitum, neut. pp. of debere, to owe < de , from + habere, to have: see HABIT] 1. something owed by one person to another or others 2. an obligation or liability to pay or return something …   English World dictionary

  • debt — (n.) late 13c., dette, from O.Fr. dete, from L. debitum thing owed, neuter pp. of debere to owe, originally, keep something away from someone, from de away (see DE (Cf. de )) + habere to have (see HABIT (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • debt — [n] money owed to others albatross*, arrearage, arrears, bad news*, baggage*, below the line*, bill, bite*, capital, check, chit*, claim, commitment, credit, cuff*, damage*, dead horse*, debenture, debit, deficit, due, dues, duty, encumbrance,… …   New thesaurus

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