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

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Other Words from abuse

Verb

abusable \ ə-​ˈbyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce abusable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Remarkably, after this, Twitter did attempt to crack down on abuse on the platform, and banned Milo. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Decade of Enduring Male Fragility," 27 Dec. 2019 Pogba also highlighted the abuse his teammates Fred and Jesse Lingard received during the recent Manchester derby at the Etihad, as well as other incidents involving Everton's former Juventus striker Moise Kean and Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli. Ben Morse, CNN, "Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba hopes to 'make people talk' with anti-racism wristbands he helped design," 27 Dec. 2019 It is related to the argument that abuse of power is too subjective a standard for removing a president. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "Trump Meets the Four Tests for Impeachment," 23 Dec. 2019 On the first article, abuse of power, two Democrats, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is considering switching parties to become a Republican, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota voted against impeaching Trump. Author: Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "President Donald Trump impeached by US House on 2 charges," 19 Dec. 2019 On the first article, abuse of power, two Democrats, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is considering switching parties to become a Republican, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota voted against impeaching Trump. Washington Post, "President Trump impeached on charges of abusing power, blocking Congress’s investigation," 19 Dec. 2019 In this way, the conversation about human and labor rights in fashion has carefully eluded global culpability, convincing Western consumers that abuse is something that happens far away. Haley Mlotek, The New Republic, "Fast Fashion at the End of the World," 19 Dec. 2019 Ron was abusive to Paco’s mom Claudia (Victoria Cartagena), and Joe killed Ron after the latter’s abuse sent Claudia to the hospital. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Everything to remember about Netflix's YOU before season 2 premieres," 19 Dec. 2019 All but four Democrats supported the article on abuse of power, which accused Trump of corruptly using the levers of government to solicit election assistance from Ukraine in the form of investigations to discredit his Democratic political rivals. Nicholas Fandos, BostonGlobe.com, "President Trump impeached by US House on 2 charges," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The suspicion is that the schemes are abused by crooks, money-launderers and tax-dodgers. The Economist, "Testing times ahead for the booming passports trade," 31 Dec. 2019 Investigators at the Federal Trade Commission and the House Judiciary Committee are examining whether Amazon abuses its position as the central online connection between people making products and those buying them. Karen Weise, SFChronicle.com, "Prime power: How Amazon squeezes the businesses behind its store," 28 Dec. 2019 All three women were raped and abused throughout their captivity, which lasted nearly a decade. Diana Pearl, PEOPLE.com, "How Jayme Closs, Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard and Others Survived Headline-Making Abductions," 27 Dec. 2019 In early December, a 41-year-old man was arrested and bailed after allegedly racially abusing Manchester United's Brazilian midfielder Fred and English attacker Jesse Lingard. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "UK government to hold talks with Tottenham Hotspur officials over racism allegations," 23 Dec. 2019 He was impeached for two reasons: abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Caroline Cournoyer, CBS News, "Highlights and takeaways from the historic week that Trump was impeached," 21 Dec. 2019 Anyone who suspects an animal has been abused, neglected, is part of a hoard or being tortured, is asked to report it at www.927PAWS.org or by calling 832-927-PAWS. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County Precinct 5 deputies remove exotic pets from abandoned apartment," 18 Dec. 2019 Also: Women were groped and abused at a Kentucky nursing home. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "A Louisville professor who helped develop the HPV vaccine has died at 80," 3 Jan. 2020 Most of the beds there are reserved for children taken into state care who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Behind the scenes with Karina Bland: A happy ending to this story, but not one I expected," 1 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Learn More about abuse

Time Traveler for abuse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for abuse

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abuse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abuse?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=a&file=abuse002. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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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
\ 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
b : to subject to abuse and especially to rape or indecent assault

Other Words from abuse

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on abuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abuse

Spanish Central: Translation of abuse

Nglish: Translation of abuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abuse for Arabic Speakers

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