Etymology: Middle English us, from Anglo-French, from Latin usus, from uti to use
Date: 13th century
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. (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 3. a. the privilege or benefit of using something <gave him the use of her car> b. the ability or power to use something (as a limb or faculty) c. the legal enjoyment of property that consists in its employment, occupation, exercise, or practice <she had the use of the estate for life> 4. 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 2b <it's no use arguing> d. the occasion or need to employ <took only what they had use for> 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 favorable attitude ; liking <had no use for modern art> II. verb (used; using) Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. archaic accustom, habituate 2. to put into action or service ; avail oneself of ; employ 3. to consume or take (as liquor or drugs) regularly 4. to carry out a purpose or action by means of ; utilize; also manipulate 2b <used him selfishly> 5. to expend or consume by putting to use — often used with up 6. to behave toward ; act with regard to ; treat <used the prisoners cruelly> 7. stand 1d <the house could use a coat of paint> 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 Synonyms: 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>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.