Aristotle, one of the fathers of Western thought, wrote in his 350 B.C. work, Politics, in Book One, Part X, that usury is the lending of money at interest:
“The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”
Today, usury has been taken to mean the lending of money at some arbitrary “exorbitant” rate of interest. Traditionally, however, it has been viewed as the lending of money at any interest rate.