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[yoo-zhuh-ree] /ˈyu ʒə ri/
noun, plural usuries.
the lending or practice of lending money at an exorbitant interest.
an exorbitant amount or rate of interest, especially in excess of the legal rate.
Obsolete. interest paid for the use of money.
Origin of usury
1275-1325; Middle English usurie < Medieval Latin ūsūria (compare Latin ūsūra), equivalent to Latin ūs(us) (see use) + -ūr(a) -ure + -ia -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for usury
  • usury refers to exorbitant rates of interest, which is hardly the description of the lending environment over the last few years.
  • The legislature intends to tax the amounts raised by interest rates that exceed the usury rate at a higher tax rate.
  • usury laws limit the interest rate amount a lender can charge.
  • The usury laws were the first consumer protection laws.
  • Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.
  • What these credit cards companies do is beyond a doubt usury.
  • It is time to enforce what used to be called the usury laws.
  • Enacting usury laws will mean many people will get no credit or low limits, so they will have multiple cards or use pawnshops.
  • The payment was resisted on the ground of illegal proceedings in discounting the notes, and also on account of usury.
  • The rates that climb up well past usury and enter the realm of loan-shark territory.
British Dictionary definitions for usury


noun (pl) -ries
the act or practice of loaning money at an exorbitant rate of interest
an exorbitant or unlawfully high amount or rate of interest
(obsolete) moneylending
Derived Forms
usurious (juːˈʒʊərɪəs) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin ūsūria, from Latin ūsūra usage, from ūsususe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for usury

c.1300, from Medieval Latin usuria, from Latin usura "usury, interest," from usus, from stem of uti (see use (v.)). Originally the practice of lending money at interest, later, at excessive rates of interest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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usury in Culture
usury [(yooh-zhuh-ree)]

The practice of charging more than the legal interest rate.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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usury in the Bible

the sum paid for the use of money, hence interest; not, as in the modern sense, exorbitant interest. The Jews were forbidden to exact usury (Lev. 25:36, 37), only, however, in their dealings with each other (Deut. 23:19, 20). The violation of this law was viewed as a great crime (Ps. 15:5; Prov. 28:8; Jer. 15:10). After the Return, and later, this law was much neglected (Neh. 5:7, 10).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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