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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English use, from Old French us, from Latin ūsus (use, custom, skill, habit), from past participle stem of ūtor (use). Displaced native Middle English note (use) (See note) from Old English notu, and Middle English nutte (use) from Old English nytt.



use (countable and uncountable, plural uses)

  1. The act of using.
    • 2013 June 7, Ed Pilkington, “‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 6:
      In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
    the use of torture has been condemned by the United Nations;  there is no use for your invention
  2. (uncountable, followed by "of") Usefulness, benefit.
    What's the use of a law that nobody follows?
    • Milton
      God made two great lights, great for their use / To man.
    • Alexander Pope
      'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense.
  3. A function; a purpose for which something may be employed.
    • 2013 July 26, Leo Hickman, “How algorithms rule the world”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 7, page 26:
      The use of algorithms in policing is one example of their increasing influence on our lives. And, as their ubiquity spreads, so too does the debate around whether we should allow ourselves to become so reliant on them – and who, if anyone, is policing their use.
    This tool has many uses.
  4. Occasion or need to employ; necessity.
    I have no further use for these textbooks.
  5. (obsolete, rare) Interest for lent money; premium paid for the use of something; usury.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 1
      DON PEDRO. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
      BEATRICE. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one: [...]
    • Jeremy Taylor
      Thou art more obliged to pay duty and tribute, use and principal, to him.
  6. (archaic) Continued or repeated practice; usage; habit.
    • Spenser
      Let later age that noble use envy.
    • Shakespeare
      How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, / Seem to me all the uses of this world!
  7. (obsolete) Common occurrence; ordinary experience.
    • Shakespeare
      O Caesar! these things are beyond all use.
  8. (religion) The special form of ritual adopted for use in any diocese.
    the Sarum, or Canterbury, use; the Hereford use; the York use; the Roman use; etc.
    • Book of Common Prayer
      From henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one use.
  9. (forging) A slab of iron welded to the side of a forging, such as a shaft, near the end, and afterward drawn down, by hammering, so as to lengthen the forging.
Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English usen, from Old French user (use, employ, practice), from Vulgar Latin *usare (use), frequentative form of past participle stem of Latin uti (to use). Displaced native Middle English noten, nutten (to use) (from Old English notian, nēotan, nyttian) and Middle English brouken, bruken (to use, enjoy) (from Old English brūcan).


Rhymes: -uːz
Homophones: ewes, yews, yous, youse


use (third-person singular simple present uses, present participle using, simple past and past participle used)

  1. To utilize or employ.
    1. (transitive) To employ; to apply; to utilize.
      Use this knife to slice the bread.
      We can use this mathematical formula to solve the problem.
      • 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “Wild Plants to the Rescue”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
        Plant breeding is always a numbers game. [] The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, and individual plants are highly heterozygous and do not breed true. In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better.
    2. (transitive, often with up) To expend; to consume by employing.
      I used the money they allotted me.
      We should use up most of the fuel.
      She used all the time allotted to complete the test.
    3. (transitive) To exploit.
      You never cared about me; you just used me!
      • 2013 September-October, Katie L. Burke, “In the News”, in American Scientist:
        Oxygen levels on Earth skyrocketed 2.4 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria evolved photosynthesis: the ability to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and waste oxygen using solar energy.
    4. (transitive) To consume (alcohol, drugs, etc), especially regularly.
      He uses cocaine. I have never used drugs.
    5. (intransitive) To consume a previously specified substance, especially a drug to which one is addicted.
      Richard began experimenting with cocaine last year; now he uses almost every day.
    6. (transitive, with auxiliary "could") To benefit from; to be able to employ or stand.
      I could use a drink. My car could use a new coat of paint.
  2. To accustom; to habituate. (Now common only in participial form. Note: This usage uses the nounal pronunciation of the word rather than the typically verbal one.)
    soldiers who are used to hardships and danger
    (still common)
    to use the soldiers to hardships and danger
    (now rare)
    • John Milton (1608–1674)
      Thou with thy compeers, / Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels.
    1. (reflexive, obsolete, with "to") To become accustomed, to accustom oneself.
      • 1714, Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, London: T. Ostell, 1806, Sixth Dialogue, p. 466,[1]
        It is not without some difficulty, that a man born in society can form an idea of such savages, and their condition; and unless he has used himself to abstract thinking, he can hardly represent to himself such a state of simplicity, in which man can have so few desires, and no appetites roving beyond the immediate call of untaught nature []
      • 1742, Samuel Richardson, Pamela, London: S. Richardson, 4th edition, Volume 3, Letter 12, p. 53,[2]
        So that reading constantly, and thus using yourself to write, and enjoying besides the Benefit of a good Memory, every thing you heard or read, became your own []
      • 1769, John Leland, Discourses on Various Subjects, London: W. Johnston and J. Dodsley, Volume 1, Discourse 16, p. 311,[3]
        [] we must be constant and faithful to our Words and Promises, and use ourselves to be so even in smaller Matters []
  3. 3* 1876, George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Book 3, Chapter 24,[4]
      • The family troubles, she thought, were easier for every one than for her—even for poor dear mamma, because she had always used herself to not enjoying.
  4. (intransitive, now rare, literary) To habitually do; to be wont to do.
  5. (intransitive, now rare, literary) To habitually employ; to be wont to employ.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, 1 Peter 4:9,[5]
      Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
    • 1693, Sir Norman Knatchbull, Annotations upon some difficult texts in all the books of the New Testament
      For in the Rites of funeration they did use to anoint the dead body, with Aromatick Spices and Oyntments, before they buried them.
  6. (intransitive, past tense with infinitive) To habitually do. See used to.
    I used to get things done.
  7. (dated) To behave toward; to act with regard to; to treat.
    to use an animal cruelly
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act II, Scene 6,[6]
      See who it is: and, now the battle’s ended,
      If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Luke 6:28,[7]
      Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
    • 1671, John Milton, Samson Agonistes, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem in IV Books, to which is added Samson Agonistes, London: John Starkey, p. 58,[8]
      If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men / Lov’d, honour’d, fear’d me, thou alone could hate me / Thy Husband, slight me, sell me, forgo me; / How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby / Deceivable []
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato: A Tragedy, London: J. Tonson, Act I, Scene 2, p. 6,[9]
      Cato has used me Ill: He has refused / His Daughter Marcia to my ardent Vows.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 928184292:
      , Book 8, Chapter 3,
      “I hope,” said Jones, “you don’t intend to leave me in this condition.” “Indeed but I shall,” said the other. “Then,” said Jones, “you have used me rascally, and I will not pay you a farthing.”
  8. (reflexive, obsolete) To behave, act, comport oneself.
    • 1551, Thomas More, Utopia, London: B. Alsop & T. Fawcet, 1639, “Of Bond-men, Sicke persons, Wedlocke, and divers other matters,” page 231,[10]
      They live together lovingly: For no Magistrate is either haughty or fearefull. Fathers they be called, and like fathers they use themselves.
    • c. 1558, George Cavendish, The Life and Death of Thomas Wolsey, cardinal, edited by Grace H. M. Simpson, London: R. & T. Washbourne, 1901, page 57,[11]
      I pray to God that this may be a sufficient admonition unto thee to use thyself more wisely hereafter, for assure thyself that if thou dost not amend thy prodigality, thou wilt be the last Earl of our house.

Some senses use a differing pronunciation of use from other senses: /juːs/ rather than /juːz/. Though the change from /z/ to /s/ is more often applicable to past participles and the simple past tense (respectively), the past negative form did not use has this pronunciation change as well, which may reflect the pronunciation's applicability to the present tense.

Derived termsEdit



Alemannic GermanEdit

Alternative formsEdit


Contraction of us + hii.




  1. out
    • 1903, Robert Walser, Der Teich:
      Aber i muess pressiere, daß i bald fertig wirde. Nächär chani use go spiele.
      But I need to hurry so I can finish soon. Then I can go out and play.




u- +‎ -se



  1. I do not



  1. I am not
  2. I was not

Related termsEdit

Present and past tense Negative tense Future Negative future Distant future Negative determinate
Singular First person ua use upwe usap upwap ute
Second person ka, ke kose, kese kopwe, kepwe kosap, kesap kopwap, kepwap kote, kete
Third person a ese epwe esap epwap ete
Plural First person aua (exclusive)
sia (inclusive)
ause (exclusive)
sise (inclusive)
aupwe (exclusive)
sipwe (inclusive)
ausap (exclusive)
sisap (inclusive)
aupwap (exclusive)
sipwap (inclusive)
aute (exclusive)
site (inclusive)
Second person oua ouse oupwe ousap oupwap oute
Third person ra, re rese repwe resap repwap rete





  1. vocative masculine singular of ūsus



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use m (genitive singular use, plural useyn)

  1. (finance) interest; usury

Derived termsEdit




  1. First-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of usar
  2. Third-person singular (ele, ela, also used with tu and você?) present subjunctive of usar
  3. Third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of usar
  4. Third-person singular (você) negative imperative of usar




  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of usar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of usar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of usar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of usar.