Definition of usury in English:


Syllabification: u·su·ry
Pronunciation: /ˈyo͞oZH(ə)rē


  • 1The illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.
    More example sentences
    • They also practised usury, charging an interest rate of 5 per cent a day.
    • He was litigious, speculated cannily on the property market, hoarded grain in times of shortage and may have practised usury.
    • But where do you draw the line between this kind of usury and legitimate lending?
  • 1.1 archaic Interest at unreasonably high rates.
    More example sentences
    • Deuteronomy states, ‘To a stranger you may lend upon usury: but to your brother you may not lend on usury.’
    • Of course that had to be paid, but when the amount of interest becomes usury, that is not fair, that is not just, and that's the actual situation.
    • Any moneys still due us under the old standard terms of twenty percent usury will be reduced to ten percent usury as a matter of good will.


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French usurie, or from medieval Latin usuria, from Latin usura, from usus 'a use' (see use).

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