use Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “use” in the English Dictionary

"use" in British English

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uk   us  
  • use verb (PURPOSE)

A1 uk   us   /juːz/ [T] (used, used) to put something such as a ​tool, ​skill, or ​building to a ​particularpurpose: This ​glass has been used - could you get me a ​clean one? [+ to infinitive] Use ​scissors tocut the ​shapes out. Going on the ​expedition gives me a ​chance to use all the ​training I've had. The ​oldhospital isn't used any more. These ​lights are used forilluminating the ​playingarea. To use ​militaryforce against the ​protesters would be ​unacceptable.

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  • 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 ​chemicalreaction: 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 ​shampoo up (= use all of it) - I'll get more ​tomorrow.

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  • 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 ​stealyourideas and then take the ​credit for them himself. It might be ​possible to use ​theirmistake to ​help us get what we ​want.

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  • use verb (IN THE PAST)

use to uk   us   /ˈjuːsˌtə/ In ​negativesentences 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 during the ​winter.
Phrasal verbs


uk   us   /juːs/
  • use noun (PURPOSE)

B1 [C or U] a ​purpose for which something is used: A ​foodprocessor 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 don't have any 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 putyourexperience in ​electronics to (good) use in ​your new ​job. Don't ​touch the ​machine when it's in use. a ​flat-screen TV that ​becomes a ​mirror when it is not in use It's a ​name that has ​almostfallen out of use (= is ​hardly used now ). There has been an ​increase in the use ofmigrantworkers in ​recentyears. Traditional ​farmingmethods 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 ​theirbeachhousewhenever they weren't there. She ​hurt her ​arm in the ​fall and lost the use of her ​fingerstemporarily.

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  • 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 Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"use" in American English

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useverb [T]

 us   /juz/
  • use verb [T] (PUT INTO SERVICE)

to put something into ​yourservice for a ​purpose: Do you ​know how to use a ​computer? We could use ​yourhelp. She uses so many ​big words, it’s hard to ​understand her.
  • use verb [T] (MAKE IT LESS)

to ​reduce the ​amount of something: We have used all the ​funds in that ​account.
  • use verb [T] (ACT SELFISH)

to be ​friendly toward someone for ​your own ​advantage or ​purposes: She used him to ​help her get into ​movies and then ​discarded him.
adjective  us   /ˈju·zə·bəl/
able to be used for a ​purpose: The ​houseneeds a lot of ​work to make it usable.
Phrasal verbs

usenoun [C/U]

 us   /jus/
  • use noun [C/U] (PUT INTO SERVICE)

If someone or something is of no use, it cannot be of ​help: [U] There’s no use ​paying for a ​permit if you won’t need it. [U] He was of no use to us because he couldn’t ​work every ​day.
(Definition of use from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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