usury

Usury means lending money at exorbitant interest rates. Some people think that credit card companies charging annual interest rates of 29% are guilty of usury.

A good way to remember the meaning of usury is that you can hear the word use in there. Think of charging too much interest as a way of "using" someone. The sad thing about high interest is that it's always the people who can least afford it who are charged rates so high that it amounts to usury. In the old days, if someone was found guilty of usury, they'd be severely punished.

Definitions of usury
  1. noun
    the act of lending money at an exorbitant rate of interest
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    type of:
    lending, loaning
    disposing of money or property with the expectation that the same thing (or an equivalent) will be returned
  2. noun
    an exorbitant or unlawful rate of interest
    synonyms: vigorish
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    type of:
    interest rate, rate of interest
    the percentage of a sum of money charged for its use
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