use definition, meaning - what is use in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “use”

See all translations

use

verb uk   us  

use verb (PURPOSE)

A1 uk   us   /juːz/ [T] (used, used) to put something such as a tool, skill, or building to a particular purpose: This glass has been used - please fetch me a clean one. [+ to infinitive] Use scissors to cut the shapes out. Going on the expedition gives me a chance to use all the training I've had. The old hospital isn't used any more. These lights are used for illuminating the playing area. To use military force against the protesters would be unacceptable.informal I could use (= I would like) some help putting these decorations up if you're not too busy.
More examples

use verb (REDUCE)

B1 uk   us   /juːz/ [T] (used, used) to reduce the amount of or finish something, by eating it, burning it, writing on it, or by a chemical reaction: We've used (up) nearly all of the bread - will you buy some more? Does she still use drugs? Don't worry if you use the polish up (= finish it) - I'm going shopping tomorrow.
Compare
More examples

use verb (WORD)

B2 uk   /juːz/ us   [T] (used, used) to say or write a particular word or phrase: "Autumn" is used in British English and "fall" in American English. That's an expression she often uses to describe how she feels.

use verb (TAKE ADVANTAGE)

C2 uk   us   /juːz/ [T] (used, used) usually disapproving to take advantage of a person or situation; to exploit: He's just using you - he'll steal your ideas and then take the credit for them himself. It might be possible to use their mistake to help us get what we want. Within the relationship he feels ill (= badly) used most of the time.
More examples

use verb (IN THE PAST)

use to uk   us   /ˈjuːsˌtə/ In negative sentences and questions, "use to" replaces "used to" when it follows "did" or "didn't": Did he use to be the doctor in "Star Trek"? We didn't use to go out much in the winter months.
Phrasal verbs

use

noun uk   us   /juːs/

use noun (PURPOSE)

B1 [C or U] a purpose for which something is used: A food processor has a variety of uses in the kitchen. Don't throw that cloth away, you'll find a use for it one day. No, I don't want to buy a boat - I have no use for one!A2 [U] the act of using something, or a period of time when something is being used or can be used: You should be able to put your experience in electronics to (good) use in your new job. Don't touch the machine when it's in use. Sorry but the escalator is out of (US usually not in) use (= not operating). There has been some increase in the use of casual labour over recent years. Traditional farming methods are going out of/coming into use (= used less and less/more and more) in many areas.make use of sth B2 to use something that is available: We might as well make use of the hotel's facilities.the use of sth C2 permission to use something, or the ability to use something: They said we could have the use of their flat at the coast whenever they weren't there. She hurt her arm in the fall and lost the use of her fingers temporarily.
More examples

use noun (REDUCTION)

[C or U] an action that reduces or finishes the amount of something available, by eating it, burning it, writing on it, or by a chemical reaction: Building a dam would be a use of financial resources which this country cannot afford.

use noun (WORD)

[C] one of the meanings of a word, or the way that a particular word is used: Can you list all the uses of the word "point"?
(Definition of use from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of use?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “use” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

force somebody's hand

to make someone do something they do not want to do, or act sooner than they had intended

Word of the Day

Go ahead! (Phrasal verbs with ‘go’)

by Kate Woodford,
May 06, 2015
​​​ Every few weeks, we focus on phrasal verbs that are formed with a particular verb. This week, we’re looking at phrasal verbs that start with the verb ‘go’. As ever, we present a range of the most useful and common phrasal verbs. Some of the most common ‘go’ phrasal verbs are easy

Read More 

Evel abbreviation

May 04, 2015
English votes for English laws; the idea that only English (as opposed to Scottish, Welsh or Irish) MPs should be allowed to vote for laws that affect only England Yet these are the two principal constitutional proposals that have come from the Conservative party in its kneejerk response to Ukip’s English nationalism and

Read More