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

Definition of misuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to use incorrectly : misapply misused his talents a word that is frequently misused
2 : abuse, mistreat misused his servants


mis·​use | \ ˌmis-ˈyüs How to pronounce misuse (audio) \

Definition of misuse (Entry 2 of 2)

: incorrect or improper use : misapplication

Other Words from misuse


misuser noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Of course, avoid choosing someone who may be inclined to misuse opioids themselves. Sarah Fielding, Health.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Google Chief Decision Scientist Cassie Kozyrkov warns that most executives misuse or underutilize data when making key decisions. Jeff Rosenthal, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Subutex, which consists of buprenorphine alone, is easier to misuse and typically has higher street value than Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Aneri Pattani, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Nov. 2021 Hunter pleaded guilty in December 2019 to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, but Trump pardoned him before his prison sentence was scheduled to begin. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Oct. 2021 Congress should demand the immediate withdrawal of the school-board memorandum, bar the appropriation of funds to implement it, and directly challenge the administration’s efforts to misuse federal laws to silence political opposition. F. James Sensenbrenner, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2021 As a recent ProPublica investigation laid out, some departments misuse the exceptional clearance option to close difficult cases like rapes. Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Oct. 2021 People who misuse alcohol have a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke and stomach bleeding, as well as multiple cancers, according to NIAAA. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2021 There’s virtually no data on how often conservators misuse their power or when a conservatorship has been improperly imposed. Naomi Cahn, The Conversation, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fox 6 News reports Myles has denied any misuse of funds. Roy S. Johnson | Rjohnson@al.com, al, 26 Nov. 2021 Then there is biosecurity, which focuses on the potential theft or misuse of dangerous biological agents. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2021 Improving community awareness of prescription drug misuse. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, 19 Nov. 2021 The complaint against Reaser, filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Thursday, broadly accuses her of neglect of duty, incompetence and misuse of office. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 In addition to detox, inpatient treatment programs typically involve individual therapy to address the thought patterns, urges, and behaviors associated with substance misuse. Sara Lindberg, SELF, 16 Nov. 2021 More than a dozen people, including former UAW presidents and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives, were convicted in the scandal involving bribes and misuse of union and worker training funds. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 12 Nov. 2021 But Judge Jose Lopez dismissed the Trump Organization as a defendant and ruled that claims of waste and misuse of funds against the inaugural committee could not proceed. Jessica Schneider, CNN, 8 Nov. 2021 Greendale police cited Brown for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and misuse of 911. Drake Bentley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6 Nov. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for misuse

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

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Time Traveler for misuse

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near misuse



misuse of patents

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Statistics for misuse

Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misuse. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for misuse



English Language Learners Definition of misuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use (something) incorrectly
: to treat (someone) unfairly



English Language Learners Definition of misuse (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of using something in an illegal, improper, or unfair way : incorrect use


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

Kids Definition of misuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to put into action or service in a wrong way


mis·​use | \ mis-ˈyüs How to pronounce misuse (audio) \

Kids Definition of misuse (Entry 2 of 2)

: incorrect or improper handling He was criticized for misuse of public funds.

More from Merriam-Webster on misuse

Nglish: Translation of misuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of misuse for Arabic Speakers


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