usu·​ry | \ ˈyü-zhə-rē How to pronounce usury (audio) , ˈyüzh-rē \
plural usuries

Definition of usury

1 : the lending of money with an interest charge for its use especially : the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates
2 : 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
3 archaic : interest

Examples of usury in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Delaware wasted no time in trashing its usury law as well. Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2021 One, as previously noted, is the conflict between the religious prohibition of usury and its economic necessity. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, 25 June 2021 EasyPay gets around the Massachusetts usury law by being affiliated with a bank headquartered outside the state, which cuts off the state’s authority to regulate it., 25 June 2021 The bill passed by Congress would allow state attorneys general to investigate whether the affiliations of lenders with banks is for the purpose of evading state usury laws., 25 June 2021 If the loan is made in the name of the bank, but the nonbank lender provides the capital, assumes the risks, and takes over ownership of the loan after it is consummated, courts have allowed enforcement of state usury laws., 23 May 2021 But with the help of her brother’s historical research, her reporting may put a stop to some of the worst usury on the Strip. John Domini, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2021 Democrats say the rule is actually meant to let those firms evade state usury laws and rate caps by partnering with banks that are subject to looser federal lending rules. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 29 Mar. 2021 Your problem with the credit-card companies is usury rates, from your position. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, 13 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'usury.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of usury

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for usury

Middle English usurie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin usuria, alteration of Latin usura, from usus, past participle of uti to use

Learn More About usury

Time Traveler for usury

Time Traveler

The first known use of usury was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near usury




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for usury

Cite this Entry

“Usury.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for usury


usu·​ry | \ ˈyü-zhə-rē How to pronounce usury (audio) \

Legal Definition of usury

1 : the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates specifically : the crime of charging or contracting to charge an unlawfully high rate of interest
2 : a rate or amount of interest charged in usury — compare legal interest at interest sense 5

History and Etymology for usury

Medieval Latin usuria interest, lending at exorbitant interest, alteration of Latin usura use, interest (i.e., sum paid for use of money), from usus use

More from Merriam-Webster on usury Encyclopedia article about usury


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!