OldEngl. law stated that any compensation for lending money, i.e. interest or making a profit from lending, was usury; later the word was applied to excessive interest rates. The Greek word for 'interest' was tokos = offspring. From this, usury was thought of as the breeding of money from money and therefore against nature and forbidden to Christians. Some members of the Jewish community became immensely wealthy by lending money. They also enjoyed special protection of the crown, as on their death the crown took possession of unpaid notes and therefore of monies yet to be paid. Christian lenders from Lombardy got round the proscriptions against interest by making 'charges' for services rendered. Frequently, interest charges of whichever kind of up to 60 per cent and more were imposed. One way of by-passing the problem of usury was by this means: a knight borrows money, which will be repaid on three successive Easter days. The note specifies £30 but the knight promises to pay 10 marks three times. Thus, if he fails to repay the actual loan of 30 marks, he is bound to pay £30, which gives the lenders interest of 33.3 per cent. A more concrete example is that of Henry IV. Over the course of his reign, Henry borrowed as much as £150,000, or rather, he signed notes to that value. What he actually received was only £130,000: thus 'charges'. A 14c quotation sums up a deep anxiety about borrowing money and payment of interest: 'He who taketh usury goeth to hell; he who taketh none liveth on the verge of beggary.' It is no surprise that the papacy and English monarchs were always in debt. -

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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  • Usury — (] In the 13th century Cardinal Hostiensis enumerated thirteen situations in which charging interest was not immoral. [cite journal | last = Roover | first = Raymond | title = The Scholastics, Usury, and Foreign Exchang | journal = Business… …   Wikipedia

  • usury — usu·ry / yü zhə rē/ n [Medieval Latin usuria interest, lending at exorbitant interest, alteration of Latin usura use, interest (i.e., sum paid for use of money), from usus use] 1: the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates; specif: the… …   Law dictionary

  • Usury — U su*ry, n. [OE. usurie, usure, F. usure, L. usura use, usury, interest, fr. uti, p. p. usus, to use. See {Use}, v. t.] [1913 Webster] 1. A premium or increase paid, or stipulated to be paid, for a loan, as of money; interest. [Obs. or Archaic]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Usury — • Defines the church s view on money lending Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Usury     Usury     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • usury — u‧su‧ry [ˈjuːʒəri] noun [uncountable] formal FINANCE when someone lends people money and makes them pay an unfairly high rate of interest usurer noun [countable] * * * usury UK US /ˈjuːzjʊri/ US  / ʒɚI/ noun [U] …   Financial and business terms

  • usury — c.1300, from M.L. usuria, from L. usura usury, interest, from usus, from stem of uti (see USE (Cf. use)). Originally the practice of lending money at interest, later, at excessive rates of interest …   Etymology dictionary

  • usury — Excessive or illegal interest rates. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • usury — ► NOUN ▪ the practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest. ORIGIN Latin usura, from usus a use …   English terms dictionary

  • usury — [yo͞o′zhə rē] n. pl. usuries [ME usurie < ML usuria < L usura < usus: see USE] 1. the act or practice of lending money at interest, now specif., at a rate of interest that is excessive or unlawfully high 2. interest at such a high rate …   English World dictionary

  • USURY — Biblical Law SOURCES If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor (nosheh), neither shall ye lay upon him interest (Ex. 22:24). And if thy brother be waxen poor and his means fail with …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • usury — An unlawful contract upon the loan of money, to receive the same again with exorbitant increase. Lassman v Jacobson, 125 Minn 218, 146 NW 350. The exaction, or an agreement for the exaction, of a greater sum for the loan, use, or forbearance of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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