What does IOU stand for?

I owe you

Primarily, people use IOU to note that they owe you something (often money). This common acronym can be used as a phrase ("IOU a drink next time!") or a noun ("I left my wallet at home; can I give you an IOU?").

However, people also use IOU when asking others for a raincheck on a promised meet-up or item. For example, if you were supposed to meet your friend Greg for coffee, he might text "Can I get an IOU on that coffee? Something came up." This means Greg still wants to meet for coffee; he just wants to do so at a later time.


Thanks for picking up lunch today. IOU lunch nxt wk

That's a pretty big IOU

Related Slang


Updated March 14, 2023

IOU definition by

This page explains what the acronym "IOU" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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