abusive

adjective

abu·​sive ə-ˈbyü-siv How to pronounce abusive (audio)
 also  -ziv
1
a
: using harsh, insulting language
an angry and abusive crowd
b
: harsh and insulting
abusive language
c
: using or involving physical violence or emotional cruelty
abusive behavior
an abusive husband
an abusive relationship
2
: characterized by wrong or improper use or action
especially : corrupt
abusive financial practices
abusively adverb
abusiveness noun

Examples of abusive in a Sentence

The fans yelled abusive comments to the referee. protecting wives from abusive husbands
Recent Examples on the Web Perspective Carolyn Hax: With abusive parents on the guest list, is brother’s wedding a... Perspective Carolyn Hax: Jilted by the groom, then guilted by the guests Perspective Carolyn Hax: Fiance calls it ‘selfish’ not to welcome his family as wedding... Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Her neighbor, Sean Robert Lackey, who was also the landlord, filed a petition for a restraining order against Young in 2022, claiming that the tenant was frequently verbally abusive and sometimes violent. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Here again, the House GOP missed another check on an abusive executive: the American people’s voice in the upcoming elections. Ken Buck, National Review, 14 Feb. 2024 Jonathan Majors and girlfriend Meagan Good are still going strong despite his recent guilty verdict for assault and new allegations of past abusive behavior. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 The women, Emma Duncan and Maura Hooper spoke to The New York Times and alleged Majors was physically and/or emotionally abusive during their overlapping relationships with the actor. Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone, 8 Feb. 2024 Her mother suffered from mental illness and was eventually institutionalized, leaving Bow prey to her abusive father. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 6 Feb. 2024 The company has angered child safety groups for going back on a 2021 promise to scan iPhones for material abusive toward children. David McCabe, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Several media outlets filed a letter to the court in December arguing for the unsealing of the Molineux evidence, which Rolling Stone learned included other women’s testimonies about their alleged abusive relationships with Majors. Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abusive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Anglo-French abusif "misplaced, wrong, in error," borrowed from Late Latin abūsīvus "misused, catachrestic," from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī "to abuse entry 2" + -īvus -ive

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of abusive was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near abusive

Cite this Entry

“Abusive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abusive. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

abusive

adjective
abu·​sive ə-ˈbyü-siv How to pronounce abusive (audio)
-ziv
: using or characterized by abuse
abusively adverb
abusiveness noun

Legal Definition

abusive

adjective
abu·​sive ə-ˈbyü-siv, -ziv How to pronounce abusive (audio)
1
: characterized by wrong or improper use or action
abusive tax shelters
2
: inflicting verbal or physical abuse
abusive parents
abusively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on abusive

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