QUESTION: Is there any difference between the two verbs loan and lend?
ANSWER: The Chicago Manual of Style, used by most fiction editors, makes a distinction between the two: lend is the correct term for granting the temporary use of an item, whereas loan should be used only when money is the subject of the transaction.
I told Sam I would lend him my bike for the trip.
I told Sam I would loan him fifty dollars for the trip.
The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, however, says the two verbs are synonymous and gives a brief history of why.
Both resources agree that only lend should be used figuratively.
CORRECT: My fellow countrymen, lend me your ears.
INCORRECT: My fellow countrymen, loan me your ears.
CORRECT: Her voice lent enchantment to the poem.
INCORRECT: Her voice loaned enchantment to the poem.
Only loan is a noun, never lend.
CORRECT: Thanks for the loan of your car.
INCORRECT: Thanks for the lend of your car.
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