Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. accustomed to, tolerant or accepting of.
  • adv. Formerly, once, and habitually or repeatedly, but possibly no longer.

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

  • adj. in the habit

Etymologies

From used, past participle of use ("to perform habitually") + to (Wiktionary)
From used, past of use ("perform habitually") + to ("infinitive marker") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I recalled him from my time in Scarborough High, when I used to stand at the fence that marked the boundary of the football field, the big Redskins logo dominating the board, and get ready to face a beating.

    The Killing Kind

  • It didn't look like the kind of car a man of Carter Paragon's stature would drive, so maybe it was what Ms. Torrance used to get around when she wasn't chauffeuring her charge.

    The Killing Kind

  • The boundaries of Red River Road were marked and recorded, in case any widening might occur in the future to alter the territory, and GPS equipment was used to take a satellite reading of the crime scene location.

    The Killing Kind

  • I felt for Curtis Peltier, I truly did, but what he wanted I didn't think I could give him; he wanted his daughter back, the way she used to be, so that he could hold her to him forever.

    The Killing Kind

  • Cue the Psychedelic Furs or Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark—or any of those dreamy bands that Hughes used to score his films—and watch me, like dear Duckie, dancing soundlessly around the room, pumping my fist and doing karate kicks.

    Dont You Forget About Me

  • That evening, after my father returned home, the smell of the soap he had used to wash away the traces of Marilyn Hyde's death still strong upon him, he sat at our kitchen table and opened a bottle of Coors.

    The Killing Kind

  • The Aroostook Baptists are in there, and at least a dozen other names, male and female, all used to create a new Apocalypse.

    The Killing Kind

  • Boothbay Harbor used to be a pretty nice place thirty years ago, when it was little more than a fishing village.

    The Killing Kind

  • The ads fail to mention that the MTX512 could be used to generate lightning storms and create a nuclear warhead from the cover of Time magazine.

    Dont You Forget About Me

  • As Michael Lansky, who was the senior detective on the squad when I was a rookie patrolman, used to say, “When I started in homicide, the Dead Sea was just sick.”

    The Killing Kind

Comments

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  • Used to in the sense of being accustomed to is very different from its other meaning as past tense of the verb to use. It is so different that I hear it as 'ust to' in the former meaning and as 'used to' in the latter. Is 'ust' worthy of being designated a word by itself?

    January 1, 2012

  • Around 1800 you will find this in transitional forms: so-and-so uses to do something, is used to (= is accustomed to). Their usage is to do it. I don't know when the two words fused and it became pronounced with the [st].

    August 23, 2009

  • This "word" both fascinates and bothers me. In the way, I guess, that every word repeated a million times over sounds weird...but how is it, that "used" + infinitive came to mean the same thing as "formerly" + past tense? I can't figure it out at all. "It had been my use to ...." I guess?

    Similar musings, though the connection is clearer, on supposed to meaning "it is a good idea" or "humanity generally does it this way".

    These words are used so frequently as idiom that I want to take them out of the language and replace them with yoosta and sposta. That way the obvious etymology won't jump out of everybody's sentences and bother me. Sometimes I use "supposed to" in a way that makes sense with current definitions of "suppose", just because it makes me feel good, but I can't do it with "used to".

    August 22, 2009