Definition of debit in US English:



  • 1An entry recording an amount owed, listed on the left-hand side or column of an account.

    The opposite of credit
    • ‘As is now done, debits were recorded on the left page and credits on the right one.’
    • ‘As such, a deficit may be a result of the claims foreigners have on the local economy (recorded as a debit in the current account).’
    • ‘Mr Shaw agreed that, if the solicitor did not post such a debit to the office side of the ledger, there would be a credit balance on the office side of the ledger.’
    • ‘On the contrary, these are among the most lamentable debits on the balance sheet of empire.’
    • ‘The debit column in Boroughmuir's ledger has a few entries this morning, but there is nothing there to suggest they are near bankrupt.’
    • ‘The other reports deal with accounts that have negative equity - that is, the debit in the account exceeds the market value of the securities held in the account.’
    • ‘Instead, they saw, and only infrequently, the madam's account book, listing debits and credits, with the larger totals in the debit column.’
    • ‘To be a player in this electronic financial landscape, one just has to borrow and lend money in the markets - create a balance sheet of entries on the vast electronic ledger of debits and credits.’
    • ‘The point is that accounting is not as simple as debits and credits.’
    • ‘A deficit could also stem from a rise in investments from abroad and increased obligations by the local economy to pay investment income (a debit under income in the current account).’
    • ‘By the time of the forfeiture in August 1995 Mr Jaura had an overdraft of £3,125 and a debit on his loan account of some £45,000.’
    • ‘Prior to the switch, the narrative of the account often reported the amounts in dollars while the debit and credit entries would continue using British currency.’
    • ‘The opposite is true when a country receives capital: paying a return on a said investment would be noted as a debit in the current account.’
    • ‘Consequently, the coal account registered, on its debit side, production expenses and, in a later phase, also the general expenses and selling expenses.’
    • ‘The sawmill ledger included a chair account containing a few debits and numerous credits for various types of chairs, likely fashioned from the sawmill's output.’
    • ‘The small debit left on the account was cancelled as an ‘out trade resolution’.’
    • ‘This is not a formal accounting journal with debits and credits.’
    • ‘Alternatively, the page was divided into two columns for recording debits and credits.’
    • ‘The debit entries from a page in Cottin's account book have been translated in Table 2.’
    • ‘The second section was the ledger, consisting of all accounts and their debit and credit entries.’
    bill, account, tally, financial obligation, outstanding payment, amount due, money owing
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A payment made or owed.
      • ‘Make sure all charges are for items you bought and all withdrawals from your account are for checks or debits you made.’
      • ‘No interest is charged or paid on debits or credits… Members call up the services they require or visit shops and business in the system…’
      • ‘It has to do with accounting for debits and credits within the tax system which Parliament has mandated.’
      • ‘Both of the debits set up on my account were for ca. £32-smallish sums that could go unnoticed in the sea of transactions.’
      • ‘Additionally, the bank would have to override and remove any bounced check fees or other debits from affected accounts caused by the error.’
      • ‘As his business is largely cash-based, he doesn't write a lot of cheques or have many debits and credits.’
      • ‘Before we know what has happened, the transaction trail starts to get out of hand and scores of debits and credits are going through our account on an almost weekly basis.’
      • ‘Not only do you now have a substantial monthly debit from your account, you also have to consider associated costs, furniture and, of course, bills.’
      • ‘Another aspect of the growth in electronic delivery channels has been the sharp growth in direct entry (both debits and credits) and the decline in the use of cheques.’
      • ‘Personal checks and automatic debits for monthly bills are a novelty.’
      • ‘I never pick up on those small debits, you know - referral items and standing order charges.’
      • ‘On the two occasions when I have had irregularities with the use of my ATM card (both involving a debit to my account when I had not in fact received cash from the ATM), I went to the banks involved.’
      • ‘However, students with PTSB accounts pay no quarterly account fees and no fees on ATM and Laser transactions, cheque debits, counter lodgements and withdrawals.’
      • ‘Her case has been that all debits to the Joint Account in excess of the £200,000 limit fixed by the 1988 Facility are unenforceable against her except insofar as they represent interest on borrowing up to that limit.’
      • ‘Although the card-holder reported the matter promptly on both occasions, the bank allowed the debits recorded by the terminal to stand.’
      financial obligation, debt, indebtedness
      View synonyms


[with object]usually be debited
  • 1(of a bank or other financial organization) remove (an amount of money) from a customer's account, typically as payment for services or goods.

    ‘$10,000 was debited from their account’
    • ‘Another reader realised that a three-year personal loan which had matured, continued to be debited directly from his account for a further 12 months.’
    • ‘If you fail to make your payment by the stated deadline, the fee is generally debited from your retirement account.’
    • ‘Big-brother style, money is automatically debited from Singaporeans' bank accounts if they drive into town in an unauthorised vehicle.’
    • ‘Because the money is debited from your account within two to three days of the transaction, the consumer has a better idea of where they stand at the end of the month, said O'Reilly.’
    • ‘Some time afterwards he discovered that money was being debited from his bank account.’
    • ‘It automatically debits the children's allowance monthly payment to its Childcare deposit account.’
    • ‘I am trying to determine whether it is possible for my Cable & Wireless bill to be automatically debited from my account every month.’
    • ‘My bank incorrectly debits a transfer twice from my account, sending me massively overdrawn and making my account unusable for days.’
    • ‘It informed me that it had debited the suggested lower amount from my credit card only because it had received legal advice that it would cost more to recover the entire debt than simply to accept the loss.’
    • ‘I pay several bills using standing orders, yet these payments reach their recipients up to five working days after being debited from my account.’
    • ‘Cheques altered in this way must not be accepted in payment as they will either be returned unpaid or could result in the wrong value being credited to or debited from an account.’
    • ‘Around 500 residents have been contacted by letter explaining that the computer fault had stopped money being debited from bank accounts and asking them to make a direct payment.’
    • ‘On both systems payment will then automatically be debited from bank or credit card accounts.’
    • ‘Many lenders offer a quarter-point reduction for borrowers who agree to have payments automatically debited from their bank accounts.’
    • ‘However, no such amount was ever credited to the Guardian's Fund and Poswa's bank account shows that no such amount was ever debited from it.’
    • ‘As well as using the credit card to obtain goods or services, the card-holder may obtain cash by the use of the card but he is then charged interest from the date the amount is debited from his account with the issuer.’
    • ‘The taxpayer's bank account details are inserted on the form, together with confirmation of the total amount of tax to be debited.’
    • ‘But enough transactions were made for more than US $3.5 m to be debited from current accounts, mostly through unsigned paper cheques.’
    • ‘Because checks before money is debited from your account can be minimal at times, it is possible for a criminal to ‘clone’, that is copy, your card and use that as if it you were using it yourself.’
    • ‘The entire monthly balance is automatically debited from your bank account on a pre-arranged date.’
    take away, take from, take off, deduct, abstract, discount, dock, remove, withdraw
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Remove an amount of money from (a bank account)
      ‘the tag on the rear window automatically activates the pump and debits any major credit card’
      • ‘Although I gave them carte blanche for automatically debiting my bank account every month for the amount I owed them, they simply ‘forgot’ to do that for the past six months.’
      • ‘When you leave, you get a copy of your account and your card is debited automatically.’
      • ‘The recipient would receive money in a new account, and PayPal would debit the sender's credit card or bank account.’
      • ‘A company which monitored the Company's machines would arrange for the customer's bank account to be debited by the amount of the withdrawal plus a $2.00 service charge.’
      • ‘They were also having their accounts debited for short message services despite the messages not reaching their destinations.’
      • ‘Mr Ryan said the practice also debited clients' accounts for legal work without sending them the bill as the rules required.’
      • ‘I was told this could not be done until November, and was then dismayed to find the company had debited my bank account for the following year, using an out-of-date debit card.’
      • ‘So, the bank provided him with fire cover through its own insurance and also debited his account for the monthly premiums, but without first discussing it with him.’
      • ‘So the legal point of phantom withdrawals hinged on the question: if a PIN is typed into an ATM with a card that matches an account number, is that a mandate by the customer for the bank to debit their account?’
      • ‘We will debit your account as we find appropriate.’
      • ‘Once you sign up, your account will be debited automatically every month, unless you cancel immediately.’
      • ‘In a valid cheque the instrument must have the customer's signature: a forged cheque is not a valid mandate, and the bank cannot debit the customer's account.’
      • ‘One account is debited for the amount involved in any transaction and another account is credited.’
      • ‘The Liquidator claims that the bank wrongfully and without authority debited the company's account with that sum.’
      • ‘A call to Freecall's support line revealed that I was one of the lucky recipients of the company's new zero minutes a month package, for which Freecall had debited my bank account by £19.99 just two days earlier.’
      • ‘Approaching the toll bridges, electronic sensors read the tags, debit the customer's account with the toll fee and automatically lift the barriers.’
      • ‘Bingo, your credit card or bank account will automatically be debited and you can toddle off with your shopping.’
      • ‘A common instance is the forged cheque which, however expertly done, does not entitle the bank to debit a customer's account.’
      • ‘The fact that a substantial amount of Irish people do not actually have a bank account, however, is a major obstacle, as Laser cards work by debiting a person's account for the appropriate amount when they make a purchase.’
      • ‘The malicious emails - normally a fake order confirmation for an IBM Laptop PC - told the recipient that their bank account has been debited for £1,099.99 and provides a link to check or cancel the order.’


  • on the debit side

    • As an unsatisfactory aspect of the situation.

      ‘on the debit side, they predict a rise in book prices’
      • ‘On the debit side, I find the new smaller script hard to read.’
      • ‘On the debit side, Butler received his fifth booking of the season and will serve an automatic one-match ban.’
      • ‘On the debit side, commitments elsewhere mean that Dravid, who has scored 6452 runs in one-day internationals and 5614 in tests, will miss the first three or four weeks of the new season.’
      • ‘It is fitting to talk of the credit side and the debit side of his reign.’
      • ‘On the debit side, a number of discrepancies detract from an otherwise riveting biography.’
      • ‘On the debit side: declining markets, infrastructure out of tune with modern world, ageing personnel, declining motivation levels among junior staff, inability to respond creatively to the demands of a changing market.’
      • ‘On the debit side, it is over two years since he last won a race, so he may not be one to rely on implicitly, but he certainly deserves a chance to shine here.’
      • ‘On the debit side this is not one for the ‘instant’ gardener, it definitely won't flower until the second year after planting and may take even longer if you plant them too deep.’
      • ‘I realized this had the makings of a transcendent adolescent moment - which, on the debit side, was being experienced in the company of my mother.’
      • ‘On the debit side, some may find a little too much repetition, as when the origin of the term ‘suffragette’ is explained twice within a few pages.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘debt’): from French débit, from Latin debitum ‘something owed’ (see debt). The verb sense dates from the 17th century; the current noun sense from the late 18th century.