American English

Definition of use verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they use
    he / she / it uses
    past simple used
    -ing form using
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  1. 1[transitive] to do something with a machine, a method, an object, etc. for a particular purpose use something Can I use your phone? Have you ever used this software before? How often do you use (= travel by) the bus? They were able to achieve a settlement without using military force. The applicator makes the glue easy to use. The oven looked as if it had never been used. I have some information you may be able to use (= to get an advantage from). use something for something/for doing something We used a carrot for the snowman's nose. The blue files are used for storing old invoices. use something to do something Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds. use something as something The building is currently being used as a warehouse. You can't keep using your bad back as an excuse.
  2. 2[transitive] use something to take a particular amount of a liquid, substance, etc. in order to achieve or make something This type of heater uses a lot of electricity. I hope you haven't used all the milk.
  3. 3[transitive] use something to say or write particular words or a particular type of language The poem uses simple language. That's a word I never use. You have to use the past tense.
  4. 4[transitive] use somebody (disapproving) to be kind, friendly, etc. to someone with the intention of getting an advantage for yourself from them synonym exploit Can't you see he's just using you for his own ends? I felt used.
  5. 5[transitive, intransitive] use (something) to take illegal drugs Most of the inmates have used drugs at some point in their lives. (slang) She's been using since she was 13.
  6. Idioms
    I, you, etc. could use something (informal)
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    used to say that you would like to have something very much I think we could all use a drink after that!
    use your head (informal)
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    used to tell someone to think about something, especially when they have asked for your opinion or said something stupid “Why don't you want to see him again?” “Oh, use your head!”
    Phrasal Verbsuse somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: use