In software and systems engineering, a use case is a list of steps, typically defining interactions between a role and a system. From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_case
In software and systems engineering, a use case is a list of steps, typically defining interactions between a role (known in Unified Modeling Language (UML) as an "actor") and a system, to achieve a goal. The actor can be a human or an external system.
In systems engineering, use cases are used at a higher level than within software engineering, often representing missions or stakeholder goals. The detailed requirements may then be captured in Systems Modeling Language (SysML) or as contractual statements.
As an important requirement technique, use cases have been widely used in modern software engineering over the last two decades. Use case driven development is a key characteristic of process models and frameworks like Unified Process (UP), Rational Unified Process (RUP), Oracle Unified Method (OUM), etc. With its iterative and evolutionary nature, use case is also a good fit for agile development.
From Wikipedia: use case