Definition of usurer in English:



  • A person who lends money at unreasonably high rates of interest.

    • ‘At the end of ten years everything was paid off, everything, the usurer's charges and the accumulation of superimposed interest.’
    • ‘The biblical parable of the talents was the central interpretative puzzle in this regard since it appears to advocate usury and, worse still, the careful preserver loses all and the usurer gains more.’
    • ‘All evils, they repeat again and again, are caused by the erroneous teachings of the ‘dismal science’ of economics and the ‘credit monopoly’ of the bankers and usurers.’
    • ‘Usurers haggle in the village square.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Antonio's money is currently tied up in shipping ventures, but because he desperately wants to help his dear friend, he goes to the usurer Shylock to borrow the funds.’
    • ‘Blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers are punished here by the blistering heat.’
    • ‘The merchant boasted to him: ‘After the war between France and Germany I was a usurer and with extorting, cozening, forfeiting and tricks belonging under brokery, I filled the gaols with bankrupts in a year.’’
    • ‘Where the actual producers fall prey to usurers and merchants, because of their lack of market power, they are reduced to a subsistence existence and forced to part with the surplus product.’
    • ‘He governed Sardinia, expelling usurers and restricting the demands made on the Sardinians for the upkeep of himself and his staff.’
    • ‘In the West the taking of usury was prohibited to both the clergy and the laity in the ninth century, and the sanctions against usurers were intensified by a series of conciliar decrees between 1179 and 1311.’
    • ‘If you oblige many men to be money-lenders, some will assuredly be usurers.’
    • ‘The nation remains at the mercy of banking usurers.’
    extortionate moneylender, payday lender
    gombeen man
    loan shark
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French usure, from Latin usura (see usury).