use

1 of 2

verb

used ˈyüzd How to pronounce use (audio)
 in the phrase "used to" usually  ˈyüs(t)
; using ˈyü-ziŋ How to pronounce use (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to put into action or service : avail oneself of : employ
2
: to expend or consume by putting to use
often used with up
3
: stand sense 1d
the house could use a coat of paint
4
: to consume or take (liquor, drugs, etc.) regularly
5
: to carry out a purpose or action by means of : utilize
also : manipulate sense 2b
used him selfishly
6
: to behave toward : act with regard to : treat
used the prisoners cruelly
7
archaic : accustom, habituate

intransitive verb

1
used in the past with to to indicate a former fact or state
we used to go more often
didn't use to smoke
2
: to take illicit drugs regularly

use

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: the act or practice of employing something : employment, application
he made good use of his spare time
b
: the fact or state of being used
a dish in daily use
c
: a method or manner of employing or applying something
gained practice in the use of the camera
2
a
: the privilege or benefit of using something
gave him the use of her car
b
: the ability or power to use something (such as a limb or faculty)
c
: the legal enjoyment of property that consists in its employment, occupation, exercise, or practice
3
a
: a particular service or end
put learning to practical use
b
: the quality of being suitable for employment
saving things that might be of use
c
: good sense 2b
it's no use arguing
d
: the occasion or need to employ
took only what they had use for
4
: a favorable attitude : liking
had no use for modern art
5
a
: the benefit in law of one or more persons
specifically : the benefit or profit of property established in one other than the legal possessor
b
: a legal arrangement by which such benefits and profits are so established
6
a(1)
: habitual or customary usage
(2)
: an individual habit or group custom
b
: a liturgical form or observance
especially : a liturgy having modifications peculiar to a local church or religious order
Choose the Right Synonym for use

use, employ, utilize mean to put into service especially to attain an end.

use implies availing oneself of something as a means or instrument to an end.

willing to use any means to achieve her ends

employ suggests the use of a person or thing that is available but idle, inactive, or disengaged.

looking for better ways to employ their skills

utilize may suggest the discovery of a new, profitable, or practical use for something.

an old wooden bucket utilized as a planter

Examples of use in a Sentence

Verb I need to use the phone when you're done. The machine is easy to use. After the accident, she could no longer use her legs. We use only organic fertilizers on our farm. They make paper using traditional Japanese methods. He used his time there well. Which accountant do you use? a new kind of light bulb that uses very little electricity Did you use all the eggs? Who used the last match? Noun Two players were suspended for illegal drug use. Doctors have found a new use for the drug. According to the dictionary, the word has two uses.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
She’s also known as someone who’s not afraid of innovation — which served the 5th circuit well during COVID-era shutdowns and should inspire more attempts to use technology to ease the burden of busy courts. Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel, 18 July 2024 The Supreme Court ruled on July 1 that some actions by presidents are off-limits from prosecution, but the ruling severely complicated matters for prosecutors by also ruling that certain official actions by presidents cannot be used as evidence against them. Ashley Oliver, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 18 July 2024
Noun
The feds should work with local governments to ensure the use of this land for housing at different income bands is ironclad and it doesn’t just get siphoned off for other uses, and is dedicated to building homes for Americans. New York Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News, 18 July 2024 For starters, no employee will be required to write an AI prompt that would displace a fellow crew member, and the use of generative AI is considered covered work performed by a human. Brian Welk, IndieWire, 18 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for use 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'use.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English us, from Anglo-French, from Latin usus, from uti to use

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 7

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of use was in the 13th century

Cite this Entry

“Use.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/use. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

use

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: the act or practice of using something : application
put knowledge to use
b
: the fact or state of being used
a dish in daily use
c
: way of using
the proper use of tools
2
a
: the privilege or benefit of using something
gave me the use of their car
b
: the ability or power to use something (as a limb)
after the operation you'll again have the use of your leg
3
a
: a particular service or end
no use in crying all the time
b
: the quality of being useful
old clothes that are still of some use
c
: a reason or need to use
took only what he had use for
4
: liking
had no use for modern art

use

2 of 2 verb
used ˈyüzd How to pronounce use (audio)
 in the phrase  ",
 used to  ",
 usually  ˈyüs(t)
; using ˈyü-ziŋ How to pronounce use (audio)
1
: to put into action or service : employ
pronunciations used by different people
used care in handling the antiques
2
: to take into the body regularly
never uses tobacco
3
: to carry out an action by means of : utilize
use caution
4
: to make use of : consume sense 2
the car uses a lot of gas
5
: to behave toward : treat
used the prisoners cruelly
6
used in the past tense with to to show a former practice, fact, or state
claims winters used to be harder
user
ˈyü-zər
noun

Legal Definition

use

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: an arrangement in which property is granted to another with the trust and confidence that the grantor or another is entitled to the beneficial enjoyment of it see also trust

Note: Uses originated in early English law and were the origin of the modern trust. Uses became popular in medieval England, where they were often secretly employed as a method of evading laws (as those prohibiting mortmain) and penalties (as attainder) and to defeat creditors. In response, the Statute of Uses was enacted in 1535. The purpose of the Statute was to execute the use, investing the legal ownership of the property in the cestui que use, or one entitled to the beneficial enjoyment, and abolishing the ownership of the grantee. The Statute did not have blanket application, however. Certain uses, particularly those in which the grantee was not merely a passive holder of the property, were not executed under the Statute. These uses were called trusts, and they were the basis of the modern trust.

b
: the right to the utilization and benefit of property to which legal title is held by another
the secret conveyance of uses in early English law
broadly : the fact or right of having the benefits and profits of property
beneficial use
: the use of a cestui que use analogous to a beneficial interest in a trust : use sense 1b
resulting use
: a use that equity attributes back to a grantor when there is no person declared to receive it or no transfer of consideration
shifting use
: a use that is transferred or takes effect in derogation of some estate upon the happening of a future event
springing use
: a use that arises upon the happening of a future event and is not in derogation of any other estate
2
: the utilization of property, resources, or services
beneficial use
: use of property that allows an owner to derive a benefit or profit in the exercise of a basic property right the owner was entitled to just compensation when he was forced to sacrifice all beneficial use of the property see also unnecessary hardship compare taking
: use of water for a reasonable or beneficial purpose consistent with the public interest authorize the diversion of water for beneficial use
conditional use
: use of property in a zone for a particular purpose that is allowed under conditions set forth in a zoning ordinance : special exception
fair use
: a use of copyrighted material that does not constitute an infringement of the copyright provided the use is fair and reasonable and does not substantially impair the value of the work or the profits expected from it by its owner
also : the privilege of making a fair use of copyrighted work

Note: Among the factors determining if a use of a copyrighted work is a fair use are these: the purpose of the use, the character of the use (as in being commercial or educational in nature), the nature of the copyrighted work, and the amount of the work used.

nonconforming use
: use of property in a manner that does not conform to the restrictions of a zoning law (as an ordinance)
specifically : use in lawful existence when a restriction takes effect and so allowed to continue
public use
: use by or to the benefit of the public
broadly : use that serves a legitimate or conceivable public purpose
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation U.S. Constitution amend. V
see also eminent domain compare taking

Note: If a taking of property is not for public use then the consent of the owner is required.

: use of an invention by one who is under no limitation, restriction, or obligation of secrecy to the inventor

Note: Under federal law one is not entitled to a patent for an invention that was in public use more than a year prior to the date of application for the patent.

reasonable use
: a use of one's property or of water that is for a suitable and beneficial purpose and that does not lead to unreasonable interference with another's use of property or with the natural flow of water
a : a rule whereby one may alter the natural flow of a watercourse as part of the reasonable use of property even though some harm results to another landowner
b : a rule whereby a use of the water under the surface of one's land that causes harm to an adjacent landowner is reasonable if made for a suitable purpose in connection with the overlying land

Note: This rule originated when cities began to use land in the country for wells that caused injury to adjacent farmers; the water was not for use there and so unreasonableness ultimately depended not on waste or harm but on the final destination of the water.

c : a rule that recognizes a landowner as entitled to make a reasonable use of property if it does not cause unreasonable harm to another and that may be applied to the alteration of a watercourse, the drainage of surface water, and the use of water beneath the surface
3
: utilization of a motor vehicle in a manner that is not completely foreign to its purpose
insurance for accidents arising from the ownership, maintenance, or use of the car

use

2 of 2 transitive verb
used; using
: to put into service : have enjoyment of
user noun

More from Merriam-Webster on use

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