1 of 2


mis·​use ˌmis-ˈyüz How to pronounce misuse (audio)
misused; misusing; misuses

transitive verb

: to use incorrectly : misapply
misused his talents
a word that is frequently misused
: abuse, mistreat
… their prisoner had the heavy task of receiving their insolence as wit, answering their insults with good-humour, and withholding from them the opportunity which they sought of engaging him in a quarrel, that they might have a pretence for misusing him.Sir Walter Scott
misuser noun
plural misusers


2 of 2


mis·​use ˌmis-ˈyüs How to pronounce misuse (audio)
: incorrect or improper use : misapplication

Examples of misuse in a Sentence

Verb She's charged with misusing company funds. a word that is frequently misused Noun No refunds will be offered on products damaged by misuse. the warranty for this dryer is null and void if you subject the product to deliberate misuse
Recent Examples on the Web
Any government employee who violates the law could be charged with misusing public monies, which is punishable by an up to $10,000 fine and a maximum of 14 years in prison. Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman, 12 July 2024 Boisvert said the arrest came following an investigation that was launched in January when the police department’s Fraud Division learned that a daycare provider had reportedly misused state funds. Justin Muszynski, Hartford Courant, 8 July 2024
Throughout her many decades, Bella advocated against corruption and the misuse of power. Linda Chase, Sun Sentinel, 8 July 2024 One person is in custody A beginner’s guide to homemade cheese ravioli CT State Police honor beloved K-9 who died due to medical complications City investigating potential misuse of funds at early learning center The D’Amelio family is returning to CT. Hartford Courant, 5 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for misuse 

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English, partly from mis- + usen to use; partly from Middle French mesuser to abuse, from Old French, from mes- + user to use

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of misuse was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near misuse

Cite this Entry

“Misuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misuse. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
mis·​use mish-ˈüz How to pronounce misuse (audio)
: to use incorrectly : misapply


2 of 2 noun
mis·​use mish-ˈüs How to pronounce misuse (audio)
: incorrect or improper use

More from Merriam-Webster on misuse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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