abu·​sive | \ ə-ˈbyü-siv How to pronounce abusive (audio) also -ziv \

Definition of abusive

1a : 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

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Other Words from abusive

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 Repelled by high levels of fraud and abusive litigation, many insurers have stopped writing policies for properties built more that a decade ago, or with roofs over a certain age. Ron Hurtibise, Sun Sentinel, 14 May 2022 Hungary's military has found a new mission in life for a talented dog who was rescued from abusive owners, recruiting 2-year-old Logan to serve in counterterrorism operations for an elite bomb squad. Justin Spike, ajc, 14 May 2022 The indie horror film offers retro 1950s flavor and slow-burn terror, with Christina Ricci starring as a single mom who flees with her 7-year-old to a remote farmhouse to get away from her abusive ex. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 13 May 2022 About three dozen other states require either consent or notification, with some ability to bypass the requirement in the case of abusive parents. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 13 May 2022 Filbeck said his father became physically abusive, beating him and his brother. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 May 2022 These people are merely asking to be heard, respected, and to have abusive practices stopped. Ariana Cernius, Fortune, 13 May 2022 One teenage girl who was incarcerated there told me that her mom would bring home abusive men. André Naffis-sahely, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 As a survivor, Bean has words of encouragement for anyone feeling stuck in an abusive situation. Peggy O’hare, San Antonio Express-News, 11 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abusive.' 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 abusive

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for abusive

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

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Time Traveler for abusive

Time Traveler

The first known use of abusive was in 1538

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Statistics for abusive

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abusive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abusive. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for abusive


abu·​sive | \ ə-ˈbyü-siv How to pronounce abusive (audio) , -ziv \

Kids Definition of abusive

1 : using or involving harmful treatment
2 : using harsh insulting language abusive comments


abu·​sive | \ ə-ˈbyü-siv, -ziv How to pronounce abusive (audio) \

Legal Definition of abusive

1 : characterized by wrong or improper use or action abusive tax shelters
2 : inflicting verbal or physical abuse abusive parents

Other Words from abusive

abusively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on abusive

Nglish: Translation of abusive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abusive for Arabic Speakers


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