usury

noun

usu·​ry ˈyü-zhə-rē How to pronounce usury (audio)
ˈyüzh-rē
plural usuries
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 Additionally, usury caps on auto loans need to be strictly enforced, and the backdoor loopholes to debtors’ prisons should be closed. Jack McCordick, The New Republic, 13 Sep. 2023 Any thoughts? — Name Withheld From the Ethicist: Certain religious traditions do object to lending at interest, which was the original meaning of usury. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Some Georgia lawmakers have been trying and failing for more than two decades to put title lenders under state banking regulation and usury laws. Margaret Coker, ProPublica, 13 July 2023 Charging excess interest is the sin of usury, and outstanding obligations are supposed to be periodically canceled during jubilee years. Martin Sandbu, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2017 And these things further engage in usury and malicious practices that can further hurt your credit score. Quartz Staff, Quartz, 28 Mar. 2023 Short-term rates in the early 1980s hit 20%, a figure normally seen as usury. David Oshinsky, WSJ, 29 July 2022 In recent years, 17 states have brought back strong usury limits, capping interest rates and effectively prohibiting payday lending. Matthew Desmond, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2023 The Charitable Corporation was modeled on Monti di Pietà, a charitable institution of credit established in Catholic countries during the Renaissance era to combat usury, or high rates of interest. Amy Froide, The Conversation, 21 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'usury.' 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

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, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near usury

Cite this Entry

“Usury.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/usury. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

usury

noun
usu·​ry ˈyüzh-(ə-)rē How to pronounce usury (audio)
plural usuries
1
: the lending of money with an interest charge for its use
2
: a rate of interest that is very high or higher than the usual rate

Legal Definition

usury

noun
usu·​ry ˈyü-zhə-rē How to pronounce usury (audio)
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
Etymology

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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