Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Meaning of IOU

What Does IOU Mean?

IOU is a common shorthand for "I owe you," which has been in existence since at least the early 1800s. The abbreviation IOU is usually followed by an amount of money, an item, or a service (i.e., the thing owed). For example:
  • IOU 10 dollars.
  • (IOU is most commonly followed by an amount of money.)
  • IOU a breakfast in bed.
  • (IOU can also be followed by an item or a service.)
An IOU (i.e., a physical slip of paper) is a written acknowledgement of a debt. A full IOU would be addressed to the creditor, signed and dated by the debtor.

To Jack,

IOU $5.50

Signed: Jill
Dated: 20 August 1825

Summary of Key Points

Definition for IOU

IOU means "I Owe You". This is the most common definition for IOU on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter. Here is some more information about IOU:

Definition:I Owe You
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers
An Image for IOU
When I write IOU, I mean this:

meaning of IOU
An I.O.U. is a written acknowledgement of a debt.

Examples of IOU in Sentences

Here are examples of IOU being used in conversations:
  • Person A: Don't forget IOU 150 Euros for the train ticket.
  • Person B: I won't forget. I need the money to get home.
  • (Here, IOU is shorthand for "I owe you...".)
  • Person A: Can I write you an IOU for the remainder?
  • Person B: Sure.
  • (Here, IOU denotes a physical slip of paper.)

An Academic Look at IOU

When IOU is shorthand for "I owe you" and followed by a direct object (i.e., the thing owed), it is most often used as a standalone declarative sentence (i.e., a statement of fact). However, when IOU denotes a physical slip of paper, it is used as a noun.

The term IOU is commonly written with full stops / periods (I.O.U.). This practice peaked in the 1930s but is now waning. In other words, more people are writing it without full stops / periods. [click here for evidence]

What Did We Used To Say?

The term IOU was popular long before the digital era. It has been in use since at least the early 1800s.

A Text with IOU

Using IOU on a Cell Phone (SMS Texts, Whatsapp, and Yubl)


Popular Themes on Cyber Definitions