Meaning of USE in English

I. use 1 S1 W1 /juːz/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ usage , ↑ use , ↑ disuse , ↑ misuse , ↑ reuse , ↑ usefulness ≠ ↑ uselessness , ↑ user ; adjective : ↑ reusable , used ≠ ↑ unused , ↑ disused , ↑ useful ≠ ↑ useless , ↑ usable ≠ ↑ unusable ; verb : ↑ use , ↑ misuse , ↑ reuse ; adverb : ↑ usefully ≠ ↑ uselessly ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: user , from Latin usus , past participle of uti 'to use' ]

1 . USE SOMETHING [transitive] if you use a particular tool, method, service, ability etc, you do something with that tool, by means of that method etc, for a particular purpose:

Can I use your phone?

I’ll show you which room you can use.

I always use the same shampoo.

Use your imagination when planning meals.

She booked the flight using a false name.

easy/difficult/simple etc to use

Drop-down menus make the program very easy to use.

use something for (doing) something

They were using animals for scientific experiments.

Bob uses the van for picking up groceries.

use something as something

My parents use the house as a holiday home.

use something to do something

Most people now use their cars to go shopping.

use force (=use violent methods)

2 . AMOUNT OF SOMETHING [transitive] to take an amount of something from a supply of food, gas, money etc:

We use about £40 worth of electricity a month.

Standard washing machines use about 40 gallons of water.

3 . TREAT SOMEBODY UNFAIRLY [transitive] to make someone do something for you in order to get something you want:

Can’t you see that Howard is just using you?

Gerald had been using her for his own ends.

4 . AN ADVANTAGE [transitive] to take advantage of a situation

use something to do something

She used her position as manager to get jobs for her friends.

5 . could use something spoken if you say you could use something, you mean you would really like to have it:

I could use a drink.

6 . WORD [transitive] to say or write a particular word or phrase:

We use the word ‘hardware’ to describe the actual machine.

Don’t use bad language.

7 . DRUGS [intransitive and transitive] to regularly take illegal drugs ⇨ ↑ used to

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▪ use :

Do you mind if I use your phone?


They rebuilt the church using local stone.


We use a range of different methods.

▪ make use of something to use something that is available to you:

Staff can make use of a wide range of facilities.


She made full use of her contacts within the organization.

▪ employ formal to use a particular method or skill in order to achieve something:

The surgeons employed a new technique.


They employed every means at their disposal (=every available method) .

▪ utilize formal to use something that is available to you, for a practical purpose:

The company has developed a new way to utilize solar energy.


a better way of utilizing the space

▪ exploit to use something as fully and effectively as possible, or to use something that will give you an advantage over your opponent:

The country’s natural resources have not yet been fully exploited.


He was quick to exploit any weakness in his opponent’s argument.

▪ apply to use something such as a method, idea, or system in a particular situation:

New technology is being applied to almost every industrial process.


I wanted to apply the things that I had learned on the course.

▪ draw on something to use information, knowledge, or experience that you have learned in the past:

He was able to draw on his own experience as a diplomat when he was writing the book.


Journalists draw on information from many different sources.

▪ resort to something to use violence, force, threats etc as a way of achieving something:

Extremists on both sides resort to violence.


We are prepared to resort to force if necessary.

■ to use your power or your rights

▪ exercise formal to use your rights, authority, influence etc:

Only 40% of the poulation exercised their right to vote.


Congress must decide whether to exercise its veto.

▪ wield /wiːld/ formal to use great power or influence:

The central banks wield enormous power.

use something ↔ up phrasal verb

to use all of something:

She’s used up all the hot water.

II. use 2 S1 W1 /juːs/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ usage , ↑ use , ↑ disuse , ↑ misuse , ↑ reuse , ↑ usefulness ≠ ↑ uselessness , ↑ user ; adjective : ↑ reusable , used ≠ ↑ unused , ↑ disused , ↑ useful ≠ ↑ useless , ↑ usable ≠ ↑ unusable ; verb : ↑ use , ↑ misuse , ↑ reuse ; adverb : ↑ usefully ≠ ↑ uselessly ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: us , from Latin usus ; ⇨ ↑ use 1 ]

1 . [singular, uncountable] the action or fact of using something:

an exit for use in emergencies

use of

the increasing use of computers in education

2 . [countable] a purpose for which something can be used:

Robots have many different uses in modern industry.

have/find a use for something

The cupboard is full of things I can never find a use for.

3 . make use of something to use something that is available in order to achieve something or get an advantage for yourself:

We will make use of her vast experience.

There is an answering machine for you to make use of.

Try to make good use of your time.

4 . put something to (good) use to use something such as knowledge or skills for a particular purpose:

a job where her management skills can be put to good use

5 . the use of something the ability or right to use something:

Joe’s given me the use of his office till he gets back.

He lost the use of both legs as a result of the accident.

6 . be (of) no use (to somebody) to be completely useless:

You needed blankets to keep warm because the heating was no use.

Take this – it’s of no use to me any more.

7 . it’s no use doing something spoken used to tell someone not to do something because it will have no effect:

It’s no use complaining.

8 . it’s no use! spoken used to say that you are going to stop doing something because you do not think it will be successful:

Oh, it’s no use! I can’t fix it.

9 . what’s the use (of something) spoken used to say that something seems to be a waste of time:

What’s the use of decorating the house if we are going to sell it?

10 . be in use a machine, place etc that is in use is being used:

Electric vehicles built in 1920 were still in use in the 1950s.

11 . for the use of somebody provided for a particular person or group of people to use:

a bar for the use of the guests

12 . be of use (to somebody/something) to be useful:

He was charged with having information likely to be of use to terrorists.

13 . come into use ( also bring something into use ) to start being used, or to start using something:

Computers first came into use in the early 1950s.

14 . go/be out of use a machine, place etc that goes out of use or is out of use is not being used:

Some 4,000 railway stations have gone out of use since the 1960s.

15 . have no use for somebody/something to have no respect for someone or something:

She has no use for people who are always complaining.

16 . something/somebody has their uses spoken used, often humorously, to say that something or someone can sometimes be useful, even though it may not seem that way:

Being stubborn can have its uses.

17 . [countable] one of the meanings of a word, or the way that a particular word is used

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■ adjectives

▪ widespread/extensive use (=when something is used in many places or situations, or among many people)

The widespread use of computers changed business completely.

▪ efficient use

Doing the work in stages makes the most efficient use of resources.

▪ effective use

We need to consider whether there could be a more effective use of our time.

▪ heavy/frequent use (=when something is used a lot)

The heavy use of pesticides in the area led to severe health problems.

▪ regular use

These drugs are not recommended for regular use.

▪ greater use

We want to encourage employees to make greater use of the sports facilities.

▪ land use

Our department is responsible for establishing the guidelines for land use in the county.

▪ drug/alcohol use

Drug use among teenage boys is on the increase.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.