Both can either mean "to borrow" or "to lend". I know you can combine both of them "借贷" to mean "debit and credit". But what are the differences in usage and semantics between those two words. They both are so similar but I'm sure there are some differences between the two. For example, I know you say 借钱 but usually don't say 贷钱 (correct me if I'm wrong). Any clarifications and explanations would be awesome! Thanks

3 Answers 3


We don't usually say 贷钱, but we do say 贷款 a lot, which is a more official way of saying 借钱. For example,

If you borrow money from your friend, you 借钱 from your friend.

In this case it's more casual, and the amount of money is usually not too much.

If you go to the bank for a loan, you 贷款 from the bank.

In this case it's more official, and the amount of money is usually a lot.

So in general, 借 and 贷 have very similar meaning, but can be used in different phrases for different context.


借 can mean borrow or lent of any thing

借入 ( borrow ), 借車 (borrow a car)

借出 (lent out), 借出房間 ( lent out a room)

貸 only refer to lent of money

貸出 (lent out)


They can be confusing at times. Here are their main differences and typical usages:

  • 贷 always means "lend" and is less frequently used. Typically only seen in the word "贷款" as a noun.
  • 借 usually means "borrow", but "借给" means "lend". So 借 relies on the context to clarify the direction of the transaction. This is probably the main confusion point since there is only "borrow from" and "lend to" in English. For example:
我昨天向他借了$10.   I borrowed $10 from him yesterday.
我昨天找他借了$10.   I borrowed $10 from him yesterday.
我昨天借给了他$10.   I lent him $10 yesterday.
Usually means "I borrowed $10 from him yesterday", since otherwise I would use "借给".
But indeed it can mean either way.

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