[ yoo-zhuh-ree ]
See synonyms for usury on
noun,plural u·su·ries.
  1. the lending or practice of lending money at an exorbitant interest.

  2. an exorbitant amount or rate of interest, especially in excess of the legal rate.

  1. 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

Words Nearby usury Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use usury in a sentence

  • She wanted to pay him with usury for his cool, hard disdain.

    The Highgrader | William MacLeod Raine
  • Addition and multiplication were his favourite rules, and usury was the foundation of his good deeds.

  • Mole-eyes grow hawk's: knowledge is lent In grudging driblets that pay high Unconscionable usury To unrelenting life.

    The Burning Wheel | Aldous Huxley
  • He invested in the traffic of usury what had sufficed to save a hundred such as I am from perdition, and he lost it all.

    Night and Morning, Complete | Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for usury


/ (ˈjuːʒərɪ) /

nounplural -ries
  1. the act or practice of loaning money at an exorbitant rate of interest

  2. an exorbitant or unlawfully high amount or rate of interest

  1. obsolete moneylending

Origin of usury

C14: from Medieval Latin ūsūria, from Latin ūsūra usage, from ūsus use

Derived forms of usury

  • usurious (juːˈʒʊərɪəs), adjective

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

Cultural definitions for 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.