USURY \YOO.zhuh.ree\ n. the lending of money at excessive, often unlawful, interest rates
The much despised usurer goes under a variety of names (including the widely used loan shark), but my favorite is the Irish term, GOMBEEN (often in the phrase gombeen man)…
Behind a web of bottles, bales,
Tobacco, sugar, coffin nails
The gombeen like a spider sits,
Surfeited; and, for all his wits,
As meagre as the tally-board
On which his usuries are scored.
— Joseph Campbell
Typical crossword clues for usury include the following…
- Illegal lending tactic
- Exorbitant interest
- Loan shark’s crime
- Shylock’s practice
- Something of great interest?
That last one is a bit cute don’t you think?
Collins/CSW/SOWPODS players get to play many more derivatives of today’s word than their North American counterparts. These include USURE (v. to practice usury), USURESS (n. a female loan shark, not to mention a rather sneaky hook to USURES), and USUROUS (adj. pertaining to usury). These players also get to play the handy, if unlikely, extension: GOMBEENISM.