Lend vs. loan

  • Traditionally, loan is a noun and lend is a verb. While a minority of writers still observe this distinction, loan is now well established as a verb and probably isn’t going to go away. English reference books tend to cite this use of loan as primarily North American. While this was once the case, the verb loan now appears everywhere. To loan someone money and to lend someone money are essentially the same. Still, honoring the traditional distinction is not wrong.



    Loan as a verb


    The 29 year-old has suffered a high-profile gambling addiction and was loaned £250,000 by the club. [Telegraph]

    The museum displayed it until 1950 and then loaned it to other museums until 1970, when it was returned. [Newsday]

    Lend as a verb

    The proposal was also intended to strengthen the rescue fund by allowing it to lend all its 440 billion euros, and perhaps use the money more flexibly. [Reuters]

    Mortgage lenders are slashing the amount they lend to couples with children and older borrowers over the age of 55 are having trouble too. [Sydney Morning Herald]


    1. The two were historically used interchangeably; the distinction, rather than the loss of it, is the recent development. 

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