use
Pronunciation
Noun
Verb

Noun

use

  1. The act of using.
    The use of torture has been condemned by the United Nations.
  2. (uncountable) The act of consuming alcohol or narcotics.
  3. (uncountable, followed by "of") Usefulness, benefit.
    What's the use of a law that nobody follows?
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 7”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      God made two great lights, great for their use / To man.
  4. A function; a purpose for which something may be employed.
    This tool has many uses.
  5. Occasion or need to employ; necessity.
    I have no further use for these textbooks.
  6. (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: [...]
    • Thou art more obliged to pay duty and tribute, use and principal, to him.
  7. (archaic) Continued or repeated practice; usage; habit.
    • Let later age that noble use envy.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene ii]:
      How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, / Seem to me all the uses of this world!
  8. (obsolete) Common occurrence; ordinary experience.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene ii]:
      O Caesar! these things are beyond all use.
  9. (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.
  10. (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.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations
Verb

use (uses, present participle using; 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.
    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!
    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. Uses the same pronunciation as the noun; see usage notes.)
    soldiers who are used to hardships and danger (still common)
    to use the soldiers to hardships and danger (now rare)
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 4”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      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,
        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,
        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,
        […] we must be constant and faithful to our Words and Promises, and use ourselves to be so even in smaller Matters […]
      • 1876, George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Book 3, Chapter 24,
        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.
  3. (intransitive, now, rare, literary, except in past tense) To habitually do; to be wont to do. (Now chiefly in past-tense forms; see used to.)
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 48, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book I, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Peter Pol, doctor in divinitie used to sit upon his mule, who as Monstrelet reporteth, was wont to ride up and downe the streets of Paris, ever sitting sideling, as women use.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, 1 Peter 4:9,
      Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
    • 1764, Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, II:
      I do not use to let my wife be acquainted with the secret affairs of my state; they are not within a woman's province.
    I used to get things done.
  4. (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,
      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,
      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,
      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,[http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004798045.0001.000/1:5.2?rgn=div2;view=fulltext]
      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 ), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292 ↗:
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      , 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.”
  5. (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,
      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,
      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.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • French: avoir l'habitude de
  • German: zu tun pflegen, gewöhnlich tun
  • Italian: essere solito
  • Portuguese: costumar
  • Russian: име́ть обыкнове́ние
  • Spanish: soler, acostumbrar



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