Definition of use in English:

use

Translate use into Spanish

verb

  • 1with object Take, hold, or deploy (something) as a means of accomplishing a purpose or achieving a result; employ.

    ‘she used her key to open the front door’
    • ‘the poem uses simple language’
    • ‘Write a poem using key words in the story and read it out to others.’
    • ‘This is achieved by using a layer of coloured glass in the inside and etching over the outer frosted surface.’
    • ‘As an employer who uses the English language as a key tool, it is somewhat irritating to have to give basic lessons in English grammar to school leavers.’
    • ‘The association has employed a gardener who uses water from the park's borewell.’
    • ‘While each robot uses different technology to employ similar ends, all are maintenance free.’
    • ‘Brown works with a tiny brush and uses it to achieve minute detail in the manner of Salvador Dali.’
    • ‘Indeed, this train will accomplish its journey using satellite navigation technology.’
    • ‘It is mainly accomplished by using text in the same color as the background color of the page.’
    • ‘Elegantly curved walls can be achieved using wedge shaped blocks with an internal curve.’
    • ‘They would fly a few feet over the drop zone and then deploy the cargo using a small drogue parachute.’
    • ‘This way, quality and output quantity can still be achieved using manual techniques.’
    • ‘In that respect, we have come from a culture that has never had to use the law to achieve integrity.’
    • ‘How could it use economic incentives to achieve this cut, and what might be the outcomes?’
    • ‘Although the same men are employed using the same tools, the business is different.’
    • ‘In reviewing past research, the current paper uses the terms employed by the original authors.’
    • ‘The technology employed uses a wireless network with the signal hopping from building to building.’
    • ‘He had only a minimal understanding of my language apparently and so we would have to use simple terms.’
    • ‘Limiting the grass intake can be accomplished by using a grazing mask or muzzle or by restricting the area available for grazing.’
    • ‘He said there was no justification in using the land for employment as it would simply replace jobs in the city centre.’
    • ‘I was able to sneak away for a little while to watch a team of men assembling an ox-plow and yoke using simple hand tools.’
    utilize, make use of, avail oneself of, employ, work, operate, wield, ply, apply, manoeuvre, manipulate, put to use, put into service, find a use for, resort to
    exercise, employ, apply, exert, bring into play, practise, implement, draw on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Treat (someone) in a particular way.
      ‘use your troops well and they will not let you down’
      • ‘If you play this variation, you can sometimes use a joker profitably to lengthen one of your suits.’
      manage, handle, treat, behave towards, act towards, conduct oneself towards, deal with
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Exploit (a person or situation) for one's own advantage.
      ‘I couldn't help feeling that she was using me’
      • ‘These artists are trying to shock us, exploit us, use us for their next pay cheque.’
      • ‘The audience is made to feel sorry for her as she is used by these pathetic men.’
      • ‘While she uses her own family, she sees their situation and her emotions as universal.’
      • ‘Not that she talked about him in there - he didn't need the publicity, and she didn't want people to think she was using him.’
      • ‘Her friends saw her as using him for his money really as they thought she never really loved him and saw him as a short term investment.’
      • ‘She says he lied about his sexual orientation, and was just using her to get cash and a green card.’
      • ‘Cat said she stayed with him for two more months, even though it was obvious he was using her.’
      • ‘Adam had used me and treated me shabbily for four years so it would do him good to get a little of his own medicine.’
      • ‘It was put to him that he was really using his daughters and treating them as objects.’
      • ‘If it turned out she was using me, then she probably wasn't a friend in the first place.’
      • ‘However much he might try to spin it the other way, he's not acting as a conduit for our wishes, but merely using us to support his own.’
      • ‘The pity and gratitude disappeared as soon as I came to know he was just using me.’
      • ‘I bugged him about that last night, that he was just using me and my place for killing time.’
      • ‘He worried I might be using him as a bargaining tool but I showed that wasn't the case.’
      take advantage of, exploit, make use of, manipulate, take liberties with, capitalize on, profit from, trade on, milk, impose on, abuse, misuse, mistreat, maltreat, treat lightly, trifle with, play with
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Apply (a name or title) to oneself.
      ‘she still used her maiden name professionally’
      • ‘Mr Cavanar said that at times Mr Deman had applied for a job under two names and sometimes used a pseudonym of Phil White.’
      • ‘I applied for one using a Christian name, and was offered an interview.’
      • ‘We also made it clear that we would not be mentioning the artists by name and we only used pseudonyms when dealing with the press.’
      • ‘It is common to use the title and family name until one is invited to use a first name.’
      • ‘Sir is still used as a title and a form of respect.’
      • ‘In tune with that desire, he does not use his title and is known by his first name at the university.’
      • ‘Abbas, who uses one name professionally, was born in Iran in 1944 and moved with his family to Algeria when he was eight.’
      • ‘Apparently, Heather uses her mother's maiden name when on the phone and on letters.’
      • ‘He had used Rob's real name instead of his title for the first time, and everyone noticed.’
      • ‘Eventually Archduke Otto, while remaining head of the Habsburg family, stopped using his titles.’
      • ‘Mr Blackwell, who used his middle name Brian, took pride in his well-maintained home and garden.’
      • ‘Both presidents were assassinated in office and both assassins used their middle names for preference.’
      • ‘He used the stage name Phyllis Edinburgh, but to the best of my knowledge his real identity was never discovered.’
    4. 1.4Take (an illegal drug)
      ‘they were using heroin daily’
      • ‘had she been using again?’
      • ‘At the time he was desperately trying to pay of debts he had built up through his drug addiction using heroin and crack cocaine.’
      • ‘Most cases affected cannabis users, who are a majority of those using illegal drugs.’
      • ‘But when he was arrested at Trinity Road in Bristol he was found not to be using crack cocaine or heroin.’
      • ‘Police found the foreigners and two Thai women engaged in the process of using illegal drugs.’
      • ‘Urine tests were performed and those using illegal drugs were also ensnared in the net.’
      • ‘He didn't approve of using illegal drugs, but he had no real stance on legalization of pot.’
      • ‘He's got quite a bad drugs background, and it just goes to show that using heroin and crack cocaine is very expensive.’
      • ‘He admits to using illegal drugs in order to deal with the pain, she added.’
      • ‘The one thing most people are likely to have heard about the young pretender is his refusal to say whether he has used illegal drugs.’
      • ‘What are we doing to prevent them from using drugs at an age when they are still innocent and vulnerable?’
      • ‘For Peter and many like him, prison was not an effective deterrent to using drugs.’
      • ‘Although I had quit drinking, I began using drugs by myself in an attempt to feel better.’
      • ‘Police and former problematic consumers regale pupils with horror stories and issue warnings of what can happen if one uses drugs.’
      • ‘Many parents, however, may refuse to welcome into their home an adult daughter who uses drugs.’
      • ‘On doctors' recommendations, he uses marijuana to relieve symptoms of these illnesses.’
      • ‘Cocaine and crack cocaine were used by only a small minority of women in each group.’
      • ‘There are no substitutes for cocaine and hashish addicts to help them stop using drugs.’
      • ‘Drugs were sent to the home from friends in South America while he used a small amount for personal use.’
      • ‘They use a small amount of these drugs, a lot of them just at weekends.’
      • ‘He said Knight, who was on the bottom rung of the supply ladder, was using two to three bags a day but had only been dealing the drug for four days.’
  • 2Take or consume (an amount) from a limited supply.

    ‘we have used all the available funds’
    • ‘With budgets tight, many in the force see this as the most efficient way of using limited resources.’
    • ‘Second, think laterally about new ways of using limited resources.’
    • ‘The team's research shows no other reported chip uses a lower amount of energy consumed per decoded information bit.’
    • ‘Space heating uses the largest amount of energy, so actions that reduce home heating requirements will have the greatest impact.’
    • ‘It's only a small amount that is used as a fertilizer, that is fertilizer grade.’
    • ‘Apart from a tiny amount which was used on business, all the rest was spent on buying a house and car and on himself.’
    • ‘Air travel uses large amounts of fossil fuel, which are then turned to greenhouse gases, released at high altitude.’
    • ‘For example, use small amounts of unsaturated oils, like olive oil or sunflower oil.’
    • ‘They are on all the time and use a colossal amount of electricity and overheat.’
    • ‘Capable of using large amounts of data, without having to be carried over a shoulder or being recharged more than once a day.’
    • ‘At home they had only let him take freezing cold baths and use a small amount of soap.’
    • ‘A meter will monitor the amount of water used from the existing water supply at the location.’
    • ‘This amount was to be used over the five year period to which the naming rights applied.’
    • ‘The chemical industry is also the industry that uses the greatest amount of energy.’
    • ‘It was a recipe in which each of the ingredients were stated to be used in amounts within the specified ranges.’
    • ‘Nearly all the lighting uses efficient fluorescent bulbs, and walls are insulated and windows double-glazed.’
    • ‘In May I suddenly started receiving electricity bills out of proportion to the amount I had used.’
    • ‘Fill the tank again, note the amount of litres taken and divide the number of miles driven by the amount of fuel used.’
    • ‘You will probably be able to save about a third of the amount of water used in bathing.’
    • ‘The advantage is that it uses much less energy than the distillation process.’
    consume, get through, go through, exhaust, deplete, expend, spend, waste, fritter away, squander, dissipate
    View synonyms
  • 3used toin past, with infinitive Describing an action or state of affairs that was done repeatedly or existed for a period in the past.

    ‘this road used to be a dirt track’
    • ‘I used to give him lifts home’
    • ‘I used to drive past it all the time in a previous job but never went into the grounds.’
    • ‘We used to play this song over and over just before she left to live in Germany.’
    • ‘He used to get friends to ask girls out for him rather than make the approach himself.’
    • ‘He now plans to sell the shop and return to London, where he used to own a coffee shop.’
    • ‘We used to go for a walk together every Sunday during the war when her daughter was a baby.’
    • ‘He was a hod carrier and sometimes used to work seven days a week.’
    • ‘A cross which used to stand at the head of the grave had fallen down and been taken away.’
    • ‘People who used to shop here regularly can no longer do so with the traffic chaos.’
    • ‘It used to be that one in ten in the city was unemployed - now it is more like one in six.’
    • ‘We used to go out and put posters up late at night illegally and put stickers all over town.’
    • ‘People used to say he was a lucky player, but over that period of time it is not luck.’
    • ‘It is a chance for my children to see the kind of environment I used to play in every week.’
    • ‘I used to keep a diary long ago.’
    • ‘We used to have a cat but she died a few years ago and we decided that it was best if we didn't replace her.’
    • ‘Ben makes his own wine, but the cups he used to drink it from have been cracked by Liz.’
    • ‘We used to stay in a house on the coast nearby and of course the castle was always on the visit list.’
    • ‘Do these people ever walk around the city and see all the spaces where shops used to be?’
    • ‘Until about six months ago, we used to have a warden living in a house next to our flats.’
    • ‘Because most houses used to own one or two cows that they would keep in a byre near the house.’
    • ‘This reminds me of when my Dad used to make kites for me out of bamboo canes and brown paper.’
    exercise, employ, apply, exert, bring into play, practise, implement, draw on
    View synonyms
  • 4be/get used toBe or become familiar with someone or something through experience.

    ‘she was used to getting what she wanted’
    • ‘he's weird, but you just have to get used to him’
    • ‘Performing in front of thousands of fans is an experience Kevin is getting used to.’
    • ‘The three of them smoked cigarettes to keep warm, the cold weather not something they were used to.’
    • ‘I took him back there to a home he was used to living in and put him back in a school he was used to.’
    • ‘Cuba offers a reasonable range of hotels, though do not expect a five-star hotel to meet the standard you may be used to.’
    • ‘They had to find a way to return to the profits they were used to.’
    • ‘We tried the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, however it was a bit rough and not like the wines we were used to in Australia.’
    • ‘The lucky quartet have now been happily rehoused in conditions much more lavish than they were used to.’
    • ‘Now, my boss is a devote Christian and this perhaps wasn't quite the response he had anticipated or was used to.’
    • ‘I thought I could just pop into my local clinic and see someone, like the drop in clinics I was used to.’
    • ‘The school was so different to what I was used to - it was bigger and it was only boys.’
    • ‘Mr King said McPhee had been to a christening and had drunk far more than he was used to.’
    • ‘In this country we are used to dealing with grievances in this area under a treaty claims process.’
    • ‘The trade-off in this crisis is not the sort that our globalised politicians are used to dealing with.’
    • ‘The point is that what you are used to is normal, and dealing with it is a matter of course.’
    • ‘It can be hard to learn to deal with, especially if you are not used to getting such vitriolic feedback.’
    • ‘Overall we have 22 nations in our company so we are used to treating everybody fair and well.’
    • ‘A couple of the suppliers did not respond, but those we are used to dealing with all came to the table.’
    • ‘He is so used to dealing with smugglers that he only talked in coded language.’
    • ‘No doubt Myanmar drivers are quite used to the situation, but it seems to take its toll on the vehicles.’
    • ‘We are creatures of habit and only feel comfortable with people we are used to.’
  • 5one could useinformal One would like or benefit from.

    • ‘I could use another cup of coffee’
    • ‘The putting green is the only area where you could use a little bit more time.’

mass noun

mass noun
  • 1The action of using something or the state of being used for a purpose.

    ‘modern trains are now in use’
    • ‘a few years after penicillin came into use’
    • ‘the water mill went out of use in 1960’
    • ‘theater owners were charging too much for the use of their venues’
    • ‘the software is ideal for use in schools’
    utilization, application, usage, employment, operation, manipulation, manoeuvring
    exploitation, manipulation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The ability or power to exercise or manipulate one's mind or body.
      • ‘the horse lost the use of his hind legs’
    2. 1.2count noun A purpose for or way in which something can be used.
      • ‘the herb has various culinary uses’
      need, necessity, call, demand, occasion, purpose, reason, cause, grounds, justification, requirement, excuse
      View synonyms
  • 2The value or advantage of something.

    • ‘what's the use of crying?’
    usefulness, advantage, benefit, service, utility, help, good, gain, avail, profit, value, worth, point, object, motive, aim, goal, purpose, sense, reason
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Law historical The benefit or profit of lands, especially lands that are in the possession of another who holds them solely for the beneficiary.
  • 3The habitual consumption of a drug.

    • ‘theft and dealing financed their heroin use’
  • 4The characteristic ritual and liturgy of a Christian Church or diocese.

Usage

The construction used to is standard, but difficulties arise with the formation of negatives and questions. Traditionally, used to behaves as a modal verb, so that questions and negatives are formed without the auxiliary verb do, as in it used not to be like that and used she to come here? In modern English this question form is now regarded as very formal or awkwardly old-fashioned and the use with do is broadly accepted as standard, as in did she use to come here? Negative constructions with do, on the other hand (as in it didn't use to be like that), though common, are informal and are not generally accepted. There is sometimes confusion over whether to use the form used to or use to, which has arisen largely because the pronunciation is the same in both cases. Except in negatives and questions, the correct form is used to: we used to go to the park all the time, not we use to go to the park all the time. However, in negatives and questions using the auxiliary verb do, the correct form is use to, because the form of the verb required is the infinitive: I didn't use to like mushrooms, not I didn't used to like mushrooms. See also
utilize

Phrases

    put something to good use
    • Use something in an effective and beneficial way.

      • ‘he wanted to put his experience to good use’
    be no use
    • 1Be pointless.

      ‘it was no use trying to persuade her’
      • ‘it's no use having facilities without proper management’
    • 2

      (also be of no use)
      Not be useful or effective.

      • ‘a grenade is no use in an open space’
    be any use
    • Be useful.

      ‘he had to remain focused if he was to be any use in the search’
      • ‘to be of any use, the photos must be up to date’
    be of use
    • Be useful.

      • ‘a pair of goggles would be of use’
    use and wont
    formal
    • Established custom.

      ‘the painter followed the religious use and wont of his time’
      • ‘The law of use and wont is soon established.’
      • ‘He was in favour of local plate-glass insurance and a ‘black-list,’ and, in regard to holidays, said that use and wont was a great thing with the public.’
      • ‘He was to begin in favour of continuing use and wont, yet when the Directory was adopted he honourably accepted its guidance and ruling.’
      • ‘Golf was sufficiently well established that on 21 October 1633 the Town Council reserved the Inches for archery, golf and other pastimes according to use and wont.’
      • ‘In accordance with use and wont the meeting resolved itself into a small party for the further exploration of the area.’
    make use of
    • 1Use for a purpose.

      ‘they made use of a variety of methods in their research’
      • ‘Farmers have rarely made use of cooperatives for marketing purposes.’
      • ‘They possessed a Hoover for this purpose which made use of a cloth bag.’
      • ‘They share the feature that they make use of public roads for limited purposes.’
      • ‘His latest work is a historical survey of the political purposes for which governments have made use of naval force.’
      • ‘The defendant had also made use of the drain for his own purposes, since it drained water from his own land.’
      • ‘Victims may choose whether or not to make use of the legal process, waiving their rights to compensation if they do not wish to sue.’
      • ‘It is simply a case of making use of the benefits of different mediums for different purposes.’
      • ‘People who are lactose intolerant do not have enough of this enzyme, and thus cannot make use of milk sugar.’
      • ‘It is likewise forbidden to make use of a stolen article or derive any benefit from it.’
      • ‘I'll also hopefully be making use of all the excellent actors and crew that are here.’
      1. 1.1Benefit from.
        ‘they were educated enough to make use of further training’
        • ‘This is not good enough because not everyone makes use of the hall.’
        • ‘From the outset, many pundits and bookmakers had given warning that betting exchanges could be exploited by those making use of inside information.’
        • ‘It's that capitalism allows people more choices that they will actually make use of.’
        • ‘It suggests something to be made use of, something with which to turn a profit, rather than something which might change our lives.’
        • ‘If I want to get out of it at any time I can, but I can also make unlimited overpayments and that is something I plan to make use of.’
        • ‘I know there are a lot of loopholes for these people to make use of and to make money.’
        • ‘There's wonderful opportunities to be made use of in this land and on this land.’
        • ‘So far as welfare is concerned, the French health service - which we've both made use of - is very good.’
        • ‘Viewers can see sheep making use of nature's larder for feeding and medicinal purposes, calves playing tag and hens soaking up the sunshine.’
        • ‘It is almost always cheaper to rather make use of an overdraft than using your credit card for such purposes.’
        utilize, make use of, avail oneself of, employ, work, operate, wield, ply, apply, manoeuvre, manipulate, put to use, put into service, find a use for, resort to
        View synonyms
    have one's uses
    informal
    • Be useful in certain respects.

      • ‘I know you don't like him, but he has his uses’
      • ‘an army training has its uses’
      • ‘These 4th of July gatherings I suppose have their uses.’
      • ‘Now I'm perfectly aware that some yeast have their uses.’
      • ‘In summary, the smaller the company, the more likely it is to have private shareholders, and these have their uses.’
      • ‘Hyde has his uses but he doesn't come across as a team player.’
      • ‘(I appreciate that lawyers do have their uses in criminal cases).’
      • ‘They certainly have their uses, as Elgar divined.’
      • ‘Both formats have their uses, to be sure, but if the future of music distribution is direct online downloads, and I think it is, neither one is appropriate.’
      • ‘The weapons all have their uses, but the skills required to use them properly are the result of a combination of factors that we can perhaps touch on later.’
      • ‘Such groupings - be they ethnic, national, or gendered - undoubtedly have their uses.’
      • ‘The hormones do have risks, as does every drug, natural and non-natural, but they also have their uses.’
    have no use for
    • 1Be unable to find a purpose for; have no need for.

      ‘he had no use for a single glove’
      • ‘Councillor Ken Cooper said some members did not accept that the land had no use for housing purposes.’
      1. 1.1informal Dislike or be impatient with.
        • ‘Today's political elite has no use for genuinely engaged and active citizens who actually want to shape their own lives and society at large.’
        • ‘Some conservatives I just have no use for at all.’
        • ‘And that is one form of weapon I have no use for, proof that I have not absorbed all of my father's teachings.’
        • ‘‘I have no use for a writer who directs my attention to himself and to his wit instead of the people he is interpreting,’ Jean-Luc Godard said in one of his early articles.’
        • ‘If you find yourself in a different situation, it's entirely possible that you will have no use for my ramblings.’
        • ‘They have no use for deprecating comparisons of the city's ‘winter’ with much more chill conditions elsewhere in the State this winter.’
        • ‘He then goes on to say: ‘Personally I have no use for them whatsoever.’’
        • ‘He has no use for the opinions people in Ontario may have, but continues to express the same disdain for the public that Mr Harris exhibited and apparently institutionalized.’
        • ‘And the odd bureaucrat who will speak his mind tells you why he has no use for journalists in his State.’
        • ‘It has made him many enemies in an Australian rugby establishment that now has no use for him.’
    use someone's name
    • Quote someone as an authority or reference.

      • ‘you could use my name—if they know you work for me, they might open up’

Phrasal Verbs

    use up
    • 1use something up, use up somethingUse all of a stock or supply of something.

      ‘the money was soon used up’
      • ‘these towns have already used up their water quotas for the period’
      • ‘If you send those countries commodities and other consumable items, they will be used up.’
      • ‘It turned out that they had spent days and nights at Internet cafes, one after the other until their money was used up.’
      • ‘Once the money was used up, the treatments at the bottom of the list would no longer be available.’
      • ‘They left sums of money for prayers until the money was used up, or transferred property to ensure that the prayers went on for ever.’
      • ‘Developed nations in particular will have to face up to the reality that oil and gas supplies will be used up in another 70 years from now, he added.’
      • ‘How much more of the nation's economic and intellectual resources will be used up before the problem of traffic speed is solved?’
      • ‘Sprinkle the dressing, fried garlic, chilli and mint over the top until all the ingredients have been used up.’
      • ‘These patterns were popular partly as they used up small amounts of wool.’
      • ‘It's not time consuming, it uses up valuable milk products that might otherwise go to waste.’
      • ‘They are using up savings to supply food to their displaced ex-workers.’
      consume, get through, go through, exhaust, deplete, expend, spend, waste, fritter away, squander, dissipate
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1use something up, use up somethingFind a purpose for something that is left over.
        • ‘I might use up all my odd scraps of wool to make a scarf’
      2. 1.2be used upinformal (of a person) be worn out, especially with overwork.
        • ‘she was tired and used up’

Origin

Middle English the noun from Old French us, from Latin usus, from uti ‘to use’; the verb from Old French user, based on Latin uti.