noun \ˈyü-zhə-rē, ˈyüzh-rē\

: the practice of lending money and requiring the borrower to pay a high amount of interest

plural usu·ries

Full Definition of USURY

archaic :  interest
:  the lending of money with an interest charge for its use; especially :  the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates
:  an unconscionable or exorbitant rate or amount of interest; specifically :  interest in excess of a legal rate charged to a borrower for the use of money

Origin of USURY

Middle English usurie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin usuria, alteration of Latin usura, from usus, past participle of uti to use
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Economics Terms

actuary, compound interest, globalization, indemnity, portfolio, rentier, stagflation, usurer


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In law, the crime of charging an unlawfully high rate of interest. In Old English law, the taking of any compensation whatsoever was termed usury. With the expansion of trade in the 13th century, the demand for credit increased, necessitating a modification in the definition of the term. In 1545 England fixed a legal maximum interest, a practice later followed by other Western nations.


Next Word in the Dictionary: usus
Previous Word in the Dictionary: usurpress
All Words Near: usury

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up usury? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).