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[yoo-zhuh-ree] /ˈyu ʒə ri/
noun, plural usuries.
the lending or practice of lending money at an exorbitant interest.
an exorbitant amount or rate of interest, especially in excess of the legal rate.
Obsolete. interest paid for the use of money.
Origin of usury
1275-1325; Middle English usurie < Medieval Latin ūsūria (compare Latin ūsūra), equivalent to Latin ūs(us) (see use) + -ūr(a) -ure + -ia -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for usury
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You have been lending money on usury too, and on a bad security.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • She wanted to pay him with usury for his cool, hard disdain.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • His words are to be taken literally; all that He promises He gives with usury.

  • Thus we see that the divell is the planter, and the father of usury.

  • Charlemagne, in France, forbid the taking of usury either by priests or laity.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
  • A careful reading of this letter does not reveal a positive approval of usury.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
  • usury makes it possible for many to live upon incomes from their property.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
British Dictionary definitions for usury


noun (pl) -ries
the act or practice of loaning money at an exorbitant rate of interest
an exorbitant or unlawfully high amount or rate of interest
(obsolete) moneylending
Derived Forms
usurious (juːˈʒʊərɪəs) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin ūsūria, from Latin ūsūra usage, from ūsususe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for usury

c.1300, from Medieval Latin usuria, from Latin usura "usury, interest," from usus, from stem of uti (see use (v.)). Originally the practice of lending money at interest, later, at excessive rates of interest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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usury in Culture
usury [(yooh-zhuh-ree)]

The practice of charging more than the legal interest rate.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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