from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The length of time, established by custom and varying between countries, that is allowed for payment of a foreign bill of exchange.
  • n. Use.
  • n. Usage; custom.
  • n. Interest paid on borrowed money.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The length of time permitted for the payment of a bill of exchange.
  • n. Use.
  • n. Customary or habitual usage.
  • n. The interest payed on a borrowed sum, usury.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Use; usage; employment.
  • n. Custom; practice; usage.
  • n. Interest paid for money; usury.
  • n. The time, fixed variously by the usage between different countries, when a bill of exchange is payable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Using; use; employment.
  • n. Usage; custom.
  • n. Premium paid for the use of money loaned; interest.
  • n. The time which is allowed by custom or usage for the payment of bills of exchange drawn on a distant country.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. accepted or habitual practice
  • n. (economics) the utilization of economic goods to satisfy needs or in manufacturing
  • n. the period of time permitted by commercial usage for the payment of a bill of exchange (especially a foreign bill of exchange)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, usage, from Old French, probably from Vulgar Latin *ūsantia, from *ūsāns, *ūsant-, present participle of *ūsāre, frequentative of Latin ūtī.


  • Everything in it, tolerable or intolerable, will have but one use; and that use what our ancestors used to call usance or usury.

    Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays

  • This double usance from London to Paris through Amsterdam gives four months—and we pay here to Robert Morris the value of the livres payable in Paris on the day when the bills are payable by you in London respectively, this gives at least seven months.

    Robert Morris

  •     Yet this bounty the while, these gifts ancestral of usance

    Poems and Fragments

  • So God me help, said Palomides, this is a shameful custom, and a villainous usance for a queen to use, and namely to make such war upon her own lord, that is called the

    Le Morte d'Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round table

  • The busy and sagacious bees fixed their republic in the clefts of the rocks and hollows of the trees, offering without usance the plenteous produce of their fragrant toil to every hand.

    Don Quixote

  • Yet this bounty the while, these gifts ancestral of usance

    The Poems and Fragments of Catullus

  • When the steed recovered, bold Siegfried took on a frightful usance in the fray.

    The Nibelungenlied

  • That bread cast upon the waters — "'dough' put out at usance," as Joseph Jefferson used to phrase it — shall return after many days has been I dare say discovered by most persons who have perpetrated acts of kindness, conscious or unconscious.

    Marse Henry : an autobiography,

  • Of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me: 124

    Act I. Scene III. The Merchant of Venice

  • When the Church decreed that the taking of interest for money was sin, and great theologians published in Venice some of their mightiest treatises demonstrating this view from Holy Scripture and the Fathers, the Venetians continued borrowing and lending money on usance.

    Fra Paolo Sarpi


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