Definition of use in English:

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1yo͞oz [with object] Take, hold, or deploy (something) as a means of accomplishing a purpose or achieving a result; employ: she used her key to open the front door the poem uses simple language
More example sentences
  • Write a poem using key words in the story and read it out to others.
  • This is achieved by using a layer of coloured glass in the inside and etching over the outer frosted surface.
  • As an employer who uses the English language as a key tool, it is somewhat irritating to have to give basic lessons in English grammar to school leavers.
exercise, employ, bring into play, practice, apply, exert, bring to bear
1.1Take or consume (an amount) from a limited supply of something: we have used all the available funds
More example sentences
  • With budgets tight, many in the force see this as the most efficient way of using limited resources.
  • Second, think laterally about new ways of using limited resources.
  • The team's research shows no other reported chip uses a lower amount of energy consumed per decoded information bit.
1.2Exploit (a person or situation) for one’s own advantage: I couldn’t help feeling that she was using me
More example sentences
  • These artists are trying to shock us, exploit us, use us for their next pay cheque.
  • The audience is made to feel sorry for her as she is used by these pathetic men.
  • While she uses her own family, she sees their situation and her emotions as universal.
take advantage of, exploit, manipulate, take liberties with, impose on, abuse;
capitalize on, profit from, trade on, milk
informal walk all over
1.3Treat (someone) in a particular way: use your troops well and they will not let you down
More example sentences
  • If you play this variation, you can sometimes use a joker profitably to lengthen one of your suits.
1.4Apply (a name or title) to oneself: she still used her maiden name professionally
More example sentences
  • Mr Cavanar said that at times Mr Deman had applied for a job under two names and sometimes used a pseudonym of Phil White.
  • I applied for one using a Christian name, and was offered an interview.
  • We also made it clear that we would not be mentioning the artists by name and we only used pseudonyms when dealing with the press.
1.5 (one could use) informal One would like or benefit from: I could use another cup of coffee
More example sentences
  • The putting green is the only area where you could use a little bit more time.
1.6 informal Take (an illegal drug): they were using heroin daily [no object]: had she been using again?
More example sentences
  • At the time he was desperately trying to pay of debts he had built up through his drug addiction using heroin and crack cocaine.
  • Most cases affected cannabis users, who are a majority of those using illegal drugs.
  • But when he was arrested at Trinity Road in Bristol he was found not to be using crack cocaine or heroin.
2yo͞ost [in past] (used to) Describing an action or state of affairs that was done repeatedly or existed for a period in the past: this road used to be a dirt track I used to give him lifts home
More example sentences
  • I used to drive past it all the time in a previous job but never went into the grounds.
  • We used to play this song over and over just before she left to live in Germany.
  • He used to get friends to ask girls out for him rather than make the approach himself.
3yo͞ost (be/get used to) Be or become familiar with someone or something through experience: she was used to getting what she wanted he’s weird, but you just have to get used to him
More example sentences
  • Performing in front of thousands of fans is an experience Kevin is getting used to.
  • The three of them smoked cigarettes to keep warm, the cold weather not something they were used to.
  • I took him back there to a home he was used to living in and put him back in a school he was used to.


Pronunciation: /yo͞os/
1The action of using something or the state of being used for some purpose: a member of staff is present when the pool is in use theater owners were charging too much for the use of their venues
More example sentences
  • Three methods of screening of vehicles are in use for security purposes.
  • The list goes on to include a large number of words no longer actually in use, which leaves you wondering why they are there.
  • The building itself was built in 1607 as a private residence, but it was in use as an inn by 1775.
utilization, usage, application, employment, operation, manipulation
1.1The ability or power to exercise or manipulate something, especially one’s mind or body: the horse lost the use of his hind legs
More example sentences
  • Fans of movement will love it for the way integrates the use of the body with the music.
  • In this there is no difference from the use of the mind by any other professional.
  • This is in total contrast to the amount of walking or exercise involving the use of the legs.
1.2A purpose for or way in which something can be used: the herb has various culinary uses
More example sentences
  • A spin-off is a technology that has been transferred to uses other than the purpose for which it was developed.
  • We're not talking about latent powers that you can develop over a period of time, for other purposes or other uses.
  • The Northern Rivers Herb Festival is gearing up to be another huge event for Lismore with a major focus this year on culinary uses of local native herbs.
need, necessity, call, demand, requirement
1.3The value or advantage of something: it was no use trying to persuade her what’s the use of crying?
More example sentences
  • This is one point on which I agree with him and it leads me to wonder if this book has much use or value at all to the casual user.
  • He does not strike me as a person who would keep something around that is of no use or value.
  • E-mail trails leading to Accra or Algiers aren't much use once your bank account has been emptied.
advantage, benefit, service, utility, usefulness, help, good, gain, avail, profit, value, worth, point, object, purpose, sense, reason
1.4 Law , historical The benefit or profit of lands, especially lands that are in the possession of another who holds them solely for the beneficiary.
Example sentences
  • Justice Lee found there to be a right to possession, occupation and use of the land.
  • This can be translated into the question: was the defendant's use of land reasonable?
  • Non-natural use of land is a different concept from the negligent use of the land.
1.5The characteristic ritual and liturgy of a church or diocese.
1.6The action of taking or habitual consumption of a drug.
Example sentences
  • This would have a bad effect on society, as we don't want increased use of cocaine and heroin.
  • In this country the law as to the habitual use of such drugs is somewhat illogical.
  • As for the argument that cannabis use leads to use of hard drugs, well that is just rubbish.


1 The construction used to is standard, but difficulties arise with the formation of negatives and questions. Traditionally, used to behaves as a modal verb, so that questions and negatives are formed without the auxiliary verb do, as in it used not to be like that and used she to come here? In modern English, this question form is now regarded as very formal or awkwardly old-fashioned, and the use with do is broadly accepted as standard, as in did she use to come here? Negative constructions with do, on the other hand (as in it didn’t use to be like that), although common, are informal and are not generally accepted. 2 There is sometimes confusion over whether to use the form used to or use to, which has arisen largely because the pronunciation is the same in both cases. Except in negatives and questions, the correct form is used to: we used to go to the movies all the time (not we use to go to the movies). However, in negatives and questions using the auxiliary verb do, the correct form is use to, because the form of the verb required is the infinitive: I didn’t use to like mushrooms (not I didn’t used to like mushrooms). See also utilize (usage).



have its (or one's) uses

informal Be useful on certain occasions or in certain respects.
Example sentences
  • These 4th of July gatherings I suppose have their uses.
  • Now I'm perfectly aware that some yeast have their uses.
  • In summary, the smaller the company, the more likely it is to have private shareholders, and these have their uses.

have no use for

Be unable to find a purpose for; have no need for: he had no use for a single glove
More example sentences
  • Councillor Ken Cooper said some members did not accept that the land had no use for housing purposes.
informal2.1 Dislike or be impatient with.
Example sentences
  • Today's political elite has no use for genuinely engaged and active citizens who actually want to shape their own lives and society at large.
  • Some conservatives I just have no use for at all.
  • And that is one form of weapon I have no use for, proof that I have not absorbed all of my father's teachings.

make use of

Use for a purpose.
Example sentences
  • Farmers have rarely made use of cooperatives for marketing purposes.
  • They possessed a Hoover for this purpose which made use of a cloth bag.
  • They share the feature that they make use of public roads for limited purposes.
3.1Benefit from: they were educated enough to make use of further training
More example sentences
  • This is not good enough because not everyone makes use of the hall.
  • From the outset, many pundits and bookmakers had given warning that betting exchanges could be exploited by those making use of inside information.
  • It's that capitalism allows people more choices that they will actually make use of.

use and wont

formal Established custom.
Example sentences
  • The law of use and wont is soon established.
  • He was in favour of local plate-glass insurance and a ‘black-list,’ and, in regard to holidays, said that use and wont was a great thing with the public.
  • He was to begin in favour of continuing use and wont, yet when the Directory was adopted he honourably accepted its guidance and ruling.

use someone's name

Quote someone as an authority or reference.

Phrasal verbs

use something up

Consume or expend the whole of something: the money was soon used up
More example sentences
  • If you send those countries commodities and other consumable items, they will be used up.
  • It turned out that they had spent days and nights at Internet cafes, one after the other until their money was used up.
  • Once the money was used up, the treatments at the bottom of the list would no longer be available.
consume, get/go through, exhaust, deplete, expend, spend;
waste, fritter away, squander, dissipate, run out of
1.1Find a purpose for something that is left over: I might use up all my odd scraps of wool to make a scarf
(be used up) informal1.2 (Of a person) be worn out, especially with overwork: she was tired and used up


Middle English: the noun from Old French us, from Latin usus, from uti 'to use'; the verb from Old French user, based on Latin uti.

Words that rhyme with use

abstruse, abuse, adduce, Ballets Russes, Belarus, Bruce, burnous, caboose, charlotte russe, conduce, deduce, deuce, diffuse, douce, educe, excuse, goose, induce, introduce, juice, Larousse, loose, luce, misuse, moose, mousse, noose, obtuse, Palouse, produce, profuse, puce, recluse, reduce, Rousse, seduce, sluice, Sousse, spruce, traduce, truce, vamoose, Zeus abuse, accuse, adieux, amuse, bemuse, billets-doux, blues, booze, bruise, choose, Clews, confuse, contuse, cruise, cruse, Cruz, diffuse, do's, Druze, effuse, enthuse, excuse, fuse (US fuze), Hughes, incuse, interfuse, lose, Mahfouz, mews, misuse, muse, news, ooze, Ouse, perfuse, peruse, rhythm-and-blues, ruse, schmooze, snooze, suffuse, Toulouse, transfuse, trews, Vaduz, Veracruz, who's, whose, youse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: use

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