Nearby words

  1. usbek,
  2. uscg,
  3. uscrc,
  4. usda,
  5. usdaw,
  6. use immunity,
  7. use one's head,
  8. use tax,
  9. use up,
  10. use-by date


Origin of use

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English usen < Old French user < Latin ūsus, past participle of ūtī to use; (noun) Middle English < Old French < Latin ūsus act of using a thing, application, employment, equivalent to ūt-, stem of ūtī to use + -tus suffix of v. action, with tt > s

1. Use, utilize mean to make something serve one's purpose. Use is the general word: to use a telephone; to use a saw and other tools; to use one's eyes; to use eggs in cooking. (What is used often has depreciated or been diminished, sometimes completely consumed: a used automobile; All the butter has been used. ) As applied to persons, use implies some selfish or sinister purpose: to use another to advance oneself. Utilize implies practical or profitable use: to utilize the means at hand, a modern system of lighting. 3. exhaust, waste. 7. familiarize, inure. 12. employment, utilization, application, exercise. 13. handling.

Related forms
Can be confuseduse usage utilize (see usage note at usage) (see synonym study at the current entry)

Usage note

See usage. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for use

British Dictionary definitions for use


verb (juːz) (tr)

to put into service or action; employ for a given purposeto use a spoon to stir with
to make a practice or habit of employing; exercisehe uses his brain
to behave towardsto use a friend well
to behave towards in a particular way for one's own endshe uses people
to consume, expend, or exhaustthe engine uses very little oil
mainly US and Canadian to partake of (alcoholic drink, drugs, etc) or smoke (tobacco, marijuana, etc)

noun (juːs)

the act of using or the state of being usedthe carpet wore out through constant use
the ability, right, or permission to use
the occasion to use; needI have no use for this paper
an instance or manner of using
usefulness; advantageit is of no use to complain
custom; practice; habitlong use has inured him to it
the purpose for which something is used; end
Christianity a distinctive form of liturgical or ritual observance, esp one that is traditional in a Church or group of Churches
the enjoyment of property, land, etc, by occupation or by deriving revenue or other benefit from it
law the beneficial enjoyment of property the legal title to which is held by another person as trustee
law an archaic word for trust (def. 7)
philosophy logic linguistics the occurrence of an expression in such a context that it performs its own linguistic function rather than being itself referred to. In " Fido " refers to Fido, the name Fido is 'used' only on the second occurrence, first being mentionedCompare mention (def. 7) See also material mode
have no use for
  1. to have no need of
  2. to have a contemptuous dislike for
make use of
  1. to employ; use
  2. to exploit (a person)
See also used to, use up

Word Origin for use

C13: from Old French user to use, from Latin ūsus having used, from ūtī to use

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

Word Origin and History for use
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with use


In addition to the idioms beginning with use

  • used to
  • use one's head
  • use up

also see:

  • have no use for
  • make use of
  • no use
  • put to good use

Also see underused.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.