I wish to say that I did something which put me in debt to someone, without naming the person. How would I phrase this?

Example: But one afternoon near the end of my time on the farm, I took out a new debt.

EDIT: the debt is not literal (i.e. $), it is figurative.

  • 1
    You "incur" debt all at once, usually, but you can "draw it down" by paying it off over time. – Robusto Nov 8 '15 at 15:05
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    You can take on debt in the sense of accepting a challenge (or of assuming someone else's debt), but you would take out the instrument of debt— a mortgage, a bond, a line of credit, a loan, etc. – choster Nov 8 '15 at 15:28
  • Thanks choster, that distinction is what I was looking for. – Isaac Scheinfeld Nov 10 '15 at 2:57

You could use "take out a loan":

A thing that is borrowed, especially a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest: ‘borrowers can take out a loan for £84,000’

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

Take out a loan is broadly used:

to get a loan of money, especially from a bank. Mary took out a loan to buy a car. We will have to take out a loan to remodel the kitchen.

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.]

You could also consider "go into debt":

She went into debt to pay for college.


Or "incur debt" as suggested in the comment.


Answering these questions would add context to aid in obtaining the most appropriate or best wording:

Is/was this a literal (i.e., monetary) debt, an actual loan (casual, or formally documented)?

Is/was the debt in the form of money or property because you damaged property (intentionally, or by accident/due to carelessness)?

Or is/was it more in the figurative sense, as a moral obligation ('debt') incurred due to something you did or said that was offensive? Or, in the positive sense, is/was it the proverbial 'debt of gratitude' due to some act of kindness by the other person preventing loss, injury, or embarrassment to you?

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