[verb yooz or for pt for mof 9, yoost; noun yoos]
See more synonyms for use on
verb (used with object), used, us·ing.
  1. to employ for some purpose; put into service; make use of: to use a knife.
  2. to avail oneself of; apply to one's own purposes: to use the facilities.
  3. to expend or consume in use: We have used the money provided.
  4. to treat or behave toward: He did not use his employees with much consideration.
  5. to take unfair advantage of; exploit: to use people to gain one's own ends.
  6. to drink, smoke, or ingest habitually: to use drugs.
  7. to habituate or accustom.
  8. Archaic. to practice habitually or customarily; make a practice of.
verb (used without object), used, us·ing.
  1. to be accustomed or customarily found (used with an infinitive expressed or understood, and, except in archaic use, now only in the past): He used to go every day.
  2. Archaic. to resort, stay, or dwell customarily.
  1. the act of employing, using, or putting into service: the use of tools.
  2. the state of being employed or used.
  3. an instance or way of employing or using something: proper use of the tool; the painter's use of color.
  4. a way of being employed or used; a purpose for which something is used: He was of temporary use. The instrument has different uses.
  5. the power, right, or privilege of employing or using something: to lose the use of the right eye; to be denied the use of a library card.
  6. service or advantage in or for being employed or used; utility or usefulness: of no practical use.
  7. help; profit; resulting good: What's the use of pursuing the matter?
  8. occasion or need, as for something to be employed or used: Would you have any use for another calendar?
  9. continued, habitual, or customary employment or practice; custom: to follow the prevailing use of such occasions.
  10. Law.
    1. the enjoyment of property, as by the employment, occupation, or exercise of it.
    2. the benefit or profit of lands and tenements in the possession of another who simply holds them for the beneficiary.
    3. the equitable ownership of land to which the legal title is in another's name.
  11. Liturgy. the distinctive form of ritual or of any liturgical observance used in a particular church, diocese, community, etc.
  12. usual or customary experience.
Verb Phrases
  1. use up,
    1. to consume entirely.
    2. to exhaust of vigor or usefulness; finish: By the end of the war he felt used up and sick of life.
  1. have no use for,
    1. to have no occasion or need for: She appears to have no use for the city.
    2. to refuse to tolerate; discount: He had no use for his brother.
    3. to have a distaste for; dislike: He has no use for dictators.
  2. make use of, to use for one's own purposes; employ: Charitable organizations will make use of your old furniture and clothing.
  3. of no use, of no advantage or help: It's of no use to look for that missing earring. It's no use asking her to go.Also no use.
  4. put to use, to apply; employ to advantage: What a shame that no one has put that old deserted mansion to use!

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
Related formsmul·ti·use, adjectivenon·use, nounnon·us·ing, adjectivere·use, verb, re·used, re·us·ing, nounun·der·use, verb (used with object), un·der·used, un·der·us·ing, noun
Can be confuseduse usage utilize (see usage note at usage) (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for use

See more synonyms for on
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.

Usage note

See usage. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for use

Contemporary Examples of use

Historical Examples of use

  • What is the use of a beautiful face, if one must be shut up in her own apartment for ever?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • We'll use a part of them ourselves, and what we can't use I will give away.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Mrs. Davis saw that there was no use in pursuing the subject, and it dropped.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • However, he was regularly engaged, and it was of no use for me to say anything against him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • What was the use of all that noise and crowding and piggish hurry?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for use


verb (juːz) (tr)
  1. to put into service or action; employ for a given purposeto use a spoon to stir with
  2. to make a practice or habit of employing; exercisehe uses his brain
  3. to behave towardsto use a friend well
  4. to behave towards in a particular way for one's own endshe uses people
  5. to consume, expend, or exhaustthe engine uses very little oil
  6. mainly US and Canadian to partake of (alcoholic drink, drugs, etc) or smoke (tobacco, marijuana, etc)
noun (juːs)
  1. the act of using or the state of being usedthe carpet wore out through constant use
  2. the ability, right, or permission to use
  3. the occasion to use; needI have no use for this paper
  4. an instance or manner of using
  5. usefulness; advantageit is of no use to complain
  6. custom; practice; habitlong use has inured him to it
  7. the purpose for which something is used; end
  8. Christianity a distinctive form of liturgical or ritual observance, esp one that is traditional in a Church or group of Churches
  9. the enjoyment of property, land, etc, by occupation or by deriving revenue or other benefit from it
  10. law the beneficial enjoyment of property the legal title to which is held by another person as trustee
  11. law an archaic word for trust (def. 7)
  12. 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
  13. have no use for
    1. to have no need of
    2. to have a contemptuous dislike for
  14. 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

mid-13c., from Old French user "use, employ, practice," from Vulgar Latin *usare "use," frequentative form of past participle stem of Latin uti "to use," in Old Latin oeti "use, employ, exercise, perform," of unknown origin. Related: Used; using. Replaced Old English brucan (see brook (v.)).


early 13c., from Old French us, from Latin usus "use, custom, skill, habit," from past participle stem of uti (see use (v.)).

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.