abuse

noun
\ ə-ˈbyüs How to pronounce abuse (audio) \

Definition of abuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a corrupt practice or custom the buying of votes and other election abuses
2 : improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse drug abuse
3 : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily verbal abuse a term of abuse
4 : physical maltreatment child abuse sexual abuse
5 obsolete : a deceitful act : deception

abuse

verb
\ ə-ˈbyüz How to pronounce abuse (audio) \
abused; abusing

Definition of abuse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put to a wrong or improper use abuse a privilege
b : to use excessively abuse alcohol also : to use without medical justification abusing painkillers
2 : to use or treat so as to injure or damage : maltreat abused his wife
3 : to attack in words : revile verbally abused the referee
4 obsolete : deceive

Other Words from abuse

Verb

abusable \ ə-​ˈbyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce abuse (audio) \ adjective
abuser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for abuse

Noun

abuse, vituperation, invective, obloquy, billingsgate mean vehemently expressed condemnation or disapproval. abuse, the most general term, usually implies the anger of the speaker and stresses the harshness of the language. scathing verbal abuse vituperation implies fluent and sustained abuse. a torrent of vituperation invective implies a comparable vehemence but suggests greater verbal and rhetorical skill and may apply to a public denunciation. blistering political invective obloquy suggests defamation and consequent shame and disgrace. subjected to obloquy and derision billingsgate implies practiced fluency and variety of profane or obscene abuse. directed a stream of billingsgate at the cabdriver

Examples of abuse in a Sentence

Noun He subjected his wife to physical and emotional abuse. the buying of votes and other election abuses She was subjected to every term of abuse her boss could think of. a torrent of verbal abuse The prisoner hurled abuse at the judge. Verb He was accused of sexually abusing a child. He abused his body with years of heavy drinking. He had abused his first car by not taking care of it. She abused her friend's trust. a senator who abuses his power He abused my confidence by letting this secret be known. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cavill has spoken out against abuse she's received since their relationship became public. Alyssa Bailey, ELLE, 13 May 2022 Heard’s countersuit, alleging that Depp defamed her by calling her abuse claim a hoax, suffers from similar obstacles, said criminal and civil attorney Mark Bederow. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 12 May 2022 The most recent figures available from the state of Michigan show that those who wanted substance abuse treatment had to wait on average 6½ days for intake. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, 12 May 2022 Causes included illness, accidental injuries and abuse, officials say. Felicia Fonseca, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2022 Had he ever been hospitalized for mental health or substance abuse issues? Victoria Bekiempis, Rolling Stone, 11 May 2022 Those deaths were the result of everything from illness to abuse, McBride said, based on his review of historical records, including letters written by students, parents and administrators. Graham Lee Brewer, NBC News, 11 May 2022 While LeBaron’s husband filed photos with the court detailing alleged abuse, those records had not yet been provided to LeBaron, the judge said. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 May 2022 The trial has received widespread media attention over the shocking and intimate details about Depp and Heard's relationship that have been revealed, including allegations of domestic violence and substance abuse. Lauren Huff, EW.com, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since Skaggs’s death, Major League Baseball has implemented a testing and treatment program for players who abuse such drugs. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 That report came four months after Pope Francis issued the most extensive revision to Catholic Church law in four decades, insisting that bishops take action against clerics who abuse minors and vulnerable adults. NBC News, 20 Jan. 2022 While facing misinformation and hate speech on its platform, and tough decisions about world leaders who abuse the platform, Dorsey focused on improve ad capabilities and introducing new products and revenue streams. Scott Nover, Quartz, 29 Nov. 2021 That’s why developers use all sorts of anti-cheat systems to clear out the players that find ways to abuse the game and ruin the experience for everyone else. Chris Smith, BGR, 28 Apr. 2022 On the same day, Japanese directors including Oscar-winner Hirokazu Koreeda and Miwa Nishikawa put out a statement condemning directors who abuse their power in the industry and praising the courage of the women who have come forward. Gavin Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Mar. 2022 The man told police the woman is a prostitute who is known to abuse heroin and crack cocaine. cleveland, 18 Feb. 2022 Maxwell, 60, was found guilty last week of procuring teens for Epstein and her to abuse and faces up to 65 years in prison when she's sentenced. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 4 Jan. 2022 Historically, people have identified different others to abuse and kill. Danielle Broadway, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of abuse

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abuse

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin abūsus "misuse, waste," noun derivative from abūtī "to exhaust, use up, misuse," from ab- ab- + ūtī "to use entry 1"

Verb

Middle English abusen, borrowed from Anglo-French abuser, verbal derivative of abuse abuse entry 1

Learn More About abuse

Time Traveler for abuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of abuse was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near abuse

abusage

abuse

abused

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Statistics for abuse

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abuse. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for abuse

abuse

noun
\ ə-ˈbyüs How to pronounce abuse (audio) \

Kids Definition of abuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wrong or unfair treatment or use abuse of power
2 : the act or practice of improperly using or of using in harmful amounts drug abuse
3 : harmful treatment of a person or an animal
4 : harsh insulting language "Never a kind word for old Templeton, only abuse and wisecracks …"— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
5 : a dishonest practice election abuses

abuse

verb
\ ə-ˈbyüz How to pronounce abuse (audio) \
abused; abusing

Kids Definition of abuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to treat in a cruel or harmful way abuse an animal
2 : to use wrongly : misuse abuse privileges
3 : to use improperly or in harmful amounts abuse drugs
4 : to blame or scold rudely

abuse

noun
\ ə-ˈbyüs How to pronounce abuse (audio) \

Medical Definition of abuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : improper or excessive use or treatment drug abuse long-term abuse of tranquilizers
2 : physical maltreatment: as
a : the act of violating sexually : rape
b under some statutes : rape or indecent assault not amounting to rape

abuse

transitive verb
\ ə-ˈbyüz How to pronounce abuse (audio) \
abused; abusing

Medical Definition of abuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to use excessively abuse alcohol also : to use without medical justification abusing painkillers
2 : to treat so as to injure or damage abuse a child
3a : masturbate
b : to subject to abuse and especially to rape or indecent assault

Other Words from abuse

abusable \ -​ˈbyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce abuse (audio) \ adjective
abuser noun

abuse

transitive verb
\ ə-ˈbyüz How to pronounce abuse (audio) \
abused; abusing

Legal Definition of abuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to put to a use other than the one intended: as
a : to put to a bad or unfair use abusing the powers of office
b : to put to improper or excessive use abuse narcotics
2a : to inflict physical or emotional mistreatment or injury on (as one's child) purposely or through negligence or neglect and often on a regular basis
b : to engage in sexual activity with (a child under an age specified by statute)
3 : to attack harshly with words abuse a police officer abuse a debtor

Other Words from abuse

abuser noun

abuse

noun
\ ə-ˈbyüs How to pronounce abuse (audio) \

Legal Definition of abuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : improper, unfair, or excessive use abuse of authority drug abuse
2a : the infliction of physical or emotional injury also : the crime of inflicting such injury — see also battered child syndrome, battered woman's syndrome — compare cruelty, neglect
3 : a verbal attack (as on a police officer in the performance of his or her duty) also : the crime of making such an attack

More from Merriam-Webster on abuse

Nglish: Translation of abuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abuse for Arabic Speakers

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