usage

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Usage

A reasonable and legal practice in a particular location, or among persons in a specific business or trade, that is either known to the individuals involved or is well established, general, and uniform to such an extent that a presumption may properly be made that the parties acted with reference to it in their transactions.

The term usage refers to a uniform practice or course of conduct followed in certain lines of business or professions that is relied upon by the parties to a contractual transaction. A court will apply the usage of a business when it determines that doing so is necessary to resolve a contractual dispute. Ignoring usage may result in the misreading of a document and the intent of the parties who signed it.

The law has developed different forms of usage. Local usage refers to a practice or method of dealing regularly observed in a particular place. Under certain circumstances it may be considered by a court when interpreting a document. General usage is a practice that prevails generally throughout the country, or is followed generally by a given profession or trade, and is not local in its nature or observance.

A trade usage is the prevailing and accepted custom within a particular trade or industry and is not tied to a geographic location. The law assumes that merchants are aware of the usage of their trade. Trade Usage supplements, qualifies, and imparts particular meaning to the terms of an agreement for the purpose of their interpretation.

The term custom and usage is commonly used in Commercial Law, but "custom" and "usage" can be distinguished. A usage is a repetition of acts whereas custom is the law or general rule that arises from such repetition. A usage may exist without a custom, but a custom cannot arise without a usage accompanying it or preceding it. Usage derives its authority from the assent of the parties to a transaction and is applicable only to consensual arrangements. Custom derives its authority from its adoption into the law and is binding regardless of any acts of assent by the parties. In modern law, however, the two principles are often merged into one by the courts.

usage

noun application, conduct, consuetude, convention, custom, customary use, disposition, established custom, established practice, fashion, fixed procedure, form, formula, habit, habitual use, habitude, management, manner, method, mode, mos, operation, prescription, prevalence, routine, service, style, system, tradition, treatment, use, utilization, vogue, wear, wont
Associated concepts: common usage, custom and usage, general usage
Foreign phrases: Consuetudo ex certa causa rationabili usiiata privat communem legem.A custom, based on a certain and reasonable cause, supersedes the common law. Optimus interpres rerum usus. Usage is the best interpreter of things. In contractibus, tacite insunt quae sunt moris et consueeudinis. In contracts, matters of custom and usage are tacitly implied. Non ex opinionibus singulorum, sed ex communi usu, nomina exaudiri debent. The names of things ought to be understood, not according to individual opinions, but according to common usage. Obtemperandum est consuetuuini rationabili tanquam legi. A reasonable custom is to be obeyed like law. Quae praeter consuetudinem et morem majorum fiunt neque placent neque recta videntur. Things which are done contrary to the custom and manner of our annestors neither please nor appear right.
See also: behavior, consumption, custom, function, management, manner, means, mode, opportunity, phraseology, practice, prescription, procedure, use

custom

or

usage

a residual source of law.

USAGE. Long and uniform practice. In its most extensive meaning this term includes custom and prescription, though it differs from them in a narrower sense, it is applied to the habits, modes, and course of dealing which are observed in trade generally, as to all mercantile transactions, or to some particular branches of trade.
     2. Usage of trade does not require to be immemorial to establish it; if it be known, certain, uniform, reasonable, and not contrary to law, it is sufficient. But evidence of a few instances that such a thing has been done does not establish a usage. 3 Watts, 178; 3 Wash. C. C. R. 150; 1 Gallis. 443; 5 Binn. 287; 9 Pick. 426; 4 B. & Ald. 210; 7 Pet. 1; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 7.
     3. The usages of trade afford ground upon which a proper construction may be given to contracts. By their aid the indeterminate intention of parties and the nature and extent of their contracts arising from mere implications or presumptions, and act of an equivocal character may be ascertained; and the meaning of words and doubtful expressions may become known. 2 Mete. 65; 2 Sumn. 569; 2 G. & J. 136; 13 Pick. 182; Story on Ag. Sec. 77; 2 Kent, Com. 662, 3d ed.; 5 Wheat. 326; 2 Car. & P. 525; 3 B. & Ald. 728; Park. on Ins. 30; 1 Marsh. Ins. 186, n. 20; 1 Caines, 45 Gilp. 356, 486; 1 Edw. Ch. R. 146; 1 N. & M. 519; 15 Mass. 433; 1 Rill, R. 270; Wright, R. 573; Pet. C. C. R. 230; 5 Hamm. 436 6 Pet. 715; 2 Pet. 148; 6 Porter, 123 1 Hall, 612; 9 Mass. 155; 9 Wheat. 582 11 Wheat. 430; 1 Pet. 25, 89.
     4. Courts will not readily adopt these usages, because they are not unfrequently founded in mistake. 2 Sumn. 377. See 3 Chitt. Pr. 55; Story, Confl. of Laws, Sec. 270; 1 Dall. 178; Vaugh. 169, 383; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

References in classic literature ?
Most illustrious Sir, excuse my awkwardness, which arises not from ignorance of the usages of polite society, but from a little surprise and nervousness, consequent on this somewhat unexpected visit.
The sound of his voice was at once penetrating and melodious; and then, that which was inconceivable in Athos, who was always retiring, was that delicate knowledge of the world and of the usages of the most brilliant society-those manners of a high degree which appeared, as if unconsciously to himself, in his least actions.
I am glad to see you pay attention to the usages of the world.
Totally unpracticed herself, abandoned by the usages of the society in which she had been educated very much to the artifices of any fortune-hunter, and vexed with Betts Shoreham, she was in the worst possible frame of mind to resist such eloquence and love.
Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as he is termed, were never forgotten among the inhabitants of New York, until the emigration from New England brought in the opinions and usages of the Puritans, like the “bon homme de Noel.
Monsignor Giulio Mazarini economized the traveling expenses of his guards; he consequently used the king's, and that largely, since he took fifty of them for himself -- a peculiarity which would not have failed to strike any one unacquainted with the usages of that court.
They were altogether primitive in their habits, and seemed to cling to the usages of savage life, even when possessed of the aids of civilization.