[uncountable, countable] money that you borrow from a bank; a loan The bank refused further credit to the company.

According to this definition these are correct.

1 I took out a credit from the bank.

2 I took out credit from the bank.

3 I took out a loan from the bank.

Do you agree that 1 and 2 are correct?

  • 4
    I don't think that definition is very good, and I am puzzled that it is in that dictionary. I can't think of a countable use of credit with that meaning.
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:52
  • Most people here speak American English. The Oxford English dictionary is British English. That's why we think "money that you borrow from a bank" is different.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 21:56
  • @stangdon In British English, at least, you can come across usages like 'monies' - ie. separate funds of money; so, a countable use. I can't recall having seen 'credits' in the same sense, but I would understand that similarly.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 13:06
  • @j4nd3r53n We use "monies" in a financial sense too in AmE, but I'm struggling to think of a sentence where I would use "credits" with the meaning given in that dictionary. The bank extended me credit; I have a line of credit; sure, but never "the bank extended me credits" or whatever.
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 14:47
  • @RonJohn Please, how does that work? How is 'money that you borrow from a bank' different in US American, British or any other form of English? Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


We don't say "I took credit from a bank" - that isn't the correct terminology. Borrowing money from a bank is a 'loan'.

'Credit' is used in different ways:

  • You can be in credit in a bank account, meaning you have available money that is yours to withdraw.
  • You can have credit available to you on something like a credit card, which means you may automatically spend up to that amount of money without further approval. The amount you spend then effectively becomes a debt, as you have to pay it off with available funds.

With credit cards - although they may offer you 'credit', the moment you take it, you have 'borrowed' on your card. They don't normally call it a loan because it is open-ended, up to your pre-approved credit limit. Loans are agreed at a fixed amount.

There are other uses of the word 'credit' as well - being "in good credit" or having a "good credit rating" means that your history of paying debts and loans is good and this often means you have greater borrowing power.

  • 2
    'Further credit' means capacity for a loan. When a bank offers it to you, it's credit; when you take it, it's a loan. So it sounds like they loaned them a set amount, but wouldn't offer them 'further credit', or additional borrowing.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 12:15
  • 1
    @user1425 Pretty much. 'Give credit' and 'take credit' mean something entirely different in a non-financial setting.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:30
  • 1
    The "loan" sense of credit is extended from the underlying literal meaning reputation for truthfulness, accuracy, or honesty; trustworthiness. The full OED has it as definition II-9 Trust or confidence in a customer's ability and intention to pay at some future time, shown by allowing money or goods to be taken or services to be used without immediate payment. Merchants may offer credit [facilities, terms], but have credit and give/take credit aren't at all likely with this sense (they'd more likely occur with the senses believability and approval). Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:35
  • 2
    If my company decides to let a customer have goods without paying for them beforehand, but rather allow them to pay at a later date, or in instalments (UK spelling), I can say my company is extending credit to that customer. Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:12
  • 2
    I have never heard "to be in credit" to.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 15:39

Usual usage:

The bank refused to extend more or additional credit to the company. A store gives you a credit for a product you return.

The bank had given us a $5,000 loan.

To take out or get or obtain a loan from a bank [loan: a specific amount]

To obtain or get credit from a bank (the idea whereby a bank or other institution or even a store allows you to obtain something with a value at some time in the future without paying for it right away).

  • The store would not return the $100 for the product I returned, but gave me a $100 credit. That means I can go there and spend that money for a product in the future.

Credit is the idea that you are given permission to borrow from an institution or company. You can be what is called creditworthy and not owe any money at all. But you are seen as being able to borrow money (get a loan), if you need to.

Loan is a set amount the bank or financial institution gives you and you will have to pay back.

to receive a credit of some amount from a store. [can be countable] to have credit with an institution [uncountable]


Is ‘I took (out) (a) credit from the bank’ literally according to the definition, or your interpretation, or are you saying there is no difference?

Both credit and loan can be either nouns or verbs. Do you mind which we’re looking at here?

When they’re nouns, credit and loan can both be countable, or uncountable. Does that matter here?

Credit is ‘what you borrow from a bank’ only in the tightly restricted sense of ‘I used £XX credit.’ Can you doubt that?

Otherwise credit is not what you actually borrow, but how much you might be able to borrow… as, for instance ‘I have £50,000 credit so I can ask the bank for a loan up to that amount.’

That ‘The bank refused further credit to the company’ does mean ‘the bank refused further loans…’ but the senses are too different. They are so far apart, we might be comparing ‘eating’ and ’food’ or ‘distance’ and ‘travel’ or ‘age’ and ‘time.’

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