Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


v. used, us·ing, us·es
1. To put into service or employ for a purpose: I used a whisk to beat the eggs. The song uses only three chords.
2. To avail oneself of; practice: use caution.
3. To conduct oneself toward; treat or handle: "the peace offering of a man who once used you unkindly" (Laurence Sterne).
4. To seek or achieve an end by means of; exploit: used their highly placed friends to gain access to the president; felt he was being used by seekers of favor.
a. To take or consume for a purpose: She used her savings to buy a computer.
b. To partake of, especially as a habit: She rarely uses alcohol.
1. (yo͞os, yo͞ost) Used in the past tense followed by to in order to indicate a former state, habitual practice, or custom: Mail service used to be faster.
2. Slang To take an illegal or narcotic drug, especially as a habit.
n. (yo͞os)
a. The act of using something; the application or employment of something for a purpose: with the use of a calculator; skilled in the use of the bow and arrow.
b. The condition or fact of being used: a chair in regular use.
2. The manner of using; usage: learned the proper use of power tools.
a. The permission, privilege, or benefit of using something: gave us the use of their summerhouse.
b. The power or ability to use something: lost the use of one arm.
4. The need or occasion to use or employ something: I have no use for these old clothes.
5. The quality of being suitable or adaptable to an end; usefulness: I tried to be of use in the kitchen.
6. A purpose for which something is used: a tool with several uses; a pretty bowl, but of what use is it?
7. Gain or advantage; good: There's no use in discussing it. What's the use?
a. Accustomed or usual procedure or practice: "We are but creatures of use and custom" (Mark Twain).
b. A particular custom or practice: uses introduced by recent immigrants.
9. Law
a. Enjoyment of property, as by occupying or employing it.
b. The benefit or profit of lands and tenements of which the legal title is vested in another.
c. The arrangement establishing the equitable right to such benefits and profits.
10. A liturgical form practiced in a particular church, ecclesiastical district, or community.
Phrasal Verb:
use up
To consume completely: used up all our money.
make use of
To use for a purpose.

[Middle English usen, from Old French user, from Vulgar Latin *ūsāre, frequentative of Latin ūtī. N., Middle English, from Old French us, from Latin ūsus, from past participle of ūtī.]
Usage Note: The verb use is used in the past tense with an infinitive to indicate a past condition or habitual practice: We used to live in that house. Because the -d in used has merged with the t of to and is not pronounced in these constructions, people sometimes mistakenly leave it out when writing. Thus it is incorrect to write We use to play tennis. When do occurs with this form of use in negative statements and in questions, the situation is reversed, and use to (not used to) is correct: You did not use to play on that team. Didn't she use to work for your company?
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.using - an act that exploits or victimizes someone (treats them unfairly)using - an act that exploits or victimizes someone (treats them unfairly); "capitalistic exploitation of the working class"; "paying Blacks less and charging them more is a form of victimization"
mistreatment - the practice of treating (someone or something) badly; "he should be punished for his mistreatment of his mother"
blaxploitation - the exploitation of black people (especially with regard to stereotyped roles in movies)
sexploitation - the commercial exploitation of sex or sexuality or explicit sexual material; "sexploitation by advertisers is notorious"
colonialism - exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one; the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country
References in classic literature ?
There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long, even if it is, the consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm of all power is modesty.
He knew that beating was unnecessary, that he had power within himself to accomplish his purpose without using his fists.
he exclaimed in gutteral English, using about half of his foreign vocabulary.
Le Renard Subtil does not eat," he said, using the appellation he had found most flattering to the vanity of the Indian.
But Hester could not resolve the query, using herself in a dismal labyrinth of doubt.
Thinks I, Queequeg, this is using Rogers's best cutlery with a vengeance.
With a grating rush, the three lines flew round the loggerheads with such a force as to gouge deep grooves in them; while so fearful were the harpooneers that this rapid sounding would soon exhaust the lines, that using all their dexterous might, they caught repeated smoking turns with the rope to hold on; till at last --owing to the perpendicular strain from the lead-lined chocks of the boats, whence the three ropes went straight down into the blue --the gunwales of the bows were almost even with the water, while the three sterns tilted high in the air.
It was by no means unusual for two men to own the same mattress in common, one working by day and using it by night, and the other working at night and using it in the daytime.
The fact was, it was, after all, the THING that I hated--the using these men and women, the perpetuation of all this ignorance, brutality and vice,--just to make money for me!
Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.
Take a rest, child; the way you are using up all the domestic air, the kingdom will have to go to im- porting it by to-morrow, and it's a low enough treasury without that.
One often sees them, at the tables in the Castle grounds, using their whips or canes to illustrate some new sword trick which they have heard about; and between the duels, on the day whose history I have been writing, the swords were not always idle; every now and then we heard a succession of the keen hissing sounds which the sword makes when it is being put through its paces in the air, and this informed us that a student was practicing.