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

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

Mobile County Sheriff detective Archie Niles said that William told him during an interview his father was verbally and physically abusive to him and his mother. Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al.com, "Mobile man accused of killing sleeping father had allegedly been planning murder for 13 years," 4 June 2019 With Chrome 71, Chrome will filter experiences on websites that fall under Google’s definition of abusive. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Google releases Chrome 71 with features to block abusive ads," 5 Dec. 2018 The situation quickly escalated and Maas became verbally abusive toward one crew member and head-butted another one, according to KOCO 5. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Delta passenger removed from plane for head-butting flight attendant," 21 Sep. 2018 Pilkington reportedly told police she was depressed and worried her sons would eventually become abusive toward women, the Columbus Dispatch reported. CBS News, "Woman charged with killing 3 sons appeals court order," 27 June 2018 The 60-year-old Sara Netanyahu in particular has been accused of excessive spending, using public money for her private, extravagant tastes and for abusive behavior toward her personal staff. Aron Heller, BostonGlobe.com, "Israeli PM’s wife sentenced, fined for misusing state funds," 16 June 2019 Of the four who were our employees, three had already been terminated prior to us being made aware months ago of the undercover ARM operation, as they were identified by their co-workers as being abusive of our animals and reported to management. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Fair Oaks Farms under investigation after undercover video exposes animal abuse," 7 June 2019 Five people were identified in the video as having taken part in the abusive behavior. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "What we know about the alleged animal abuse at Fair Oaks Farms," 7 June 2019 Gypsy Rose Blanchard is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for her mother's murder The fake diagnoses, tests, and abusive behavior went on for as long as Gypsy Rose could take it. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How True Is 'The Act'? The Hulu Series' Backstory Is Chilling," 20 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for abusive

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abusive

The first known use of abusive was in 1538

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on abusive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abusive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abusive

Spanish Central: Translation of abusive

Nglish: Translation of abusive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abusive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on abusive

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