General English


  • noun the act of using something, or the state of being used
  • verb to put something to work for a purpose


  • verb to take something, e.g. a machine, a company or a process, and work with it


  • verb to consume a resource such as heat or light

Information & Library Science

  • noun the ability or permission to use something
  • verb to employ somebody or something for a particular purpose


  • noun land held by the legal owner on trust for a beneficiary


  • noun the act of taking something and making it serve a purpose, or the way in which something is used

Origin & History of “use”

The verb use comes via Old French user from vulgar Latin *ūsāre. This was derived from ūsus, the past participle of Latin ūtī ‘use’ (source also of English utensil, utility (14th c.), utilize (19th c.), etc). Latin ūsus was also used as a noun, meaning ‘use, usage’, and this has given English the noun use (13th c.) and the derivatives usage (13th c.) (an Old French formation), usual, usurp, and usury. Abuse (14th c.) and peruse (15th c.) (etymologically ‘use up’) go back to the same Latin roots.