to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one's authority.
to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse; to abuse one's eyesight.
to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
to commit sexual assault upon.
Obsolete. to deceive or mislead.
wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
harshly or coarsely insulting language: The officer heaped abuse on his men.
bad or improper treatment; maltreatment: The child was subjected to cruel abuse.
a corrupt or improper practice or custom: the abuses of a totalitarian regime.
rape or sexual assault.
Idioms about abuse
abuse oneself, to masturbate.
- a·bus·a·ble [uh-byoo-zuh-buhl], /əˈbyu zə bəl/, adjective
- a·bus·er, noun
- an·ti·a·buse, adjective
- o·ver·a·buse, noun, verb (used with object), o·ver·a·bused, o·ver·a·bus·ing.
- un·a·bus·a·ble, adjective
- un·a·bused, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use abuse in a sentence
The adopted children, then 18 months and 2.5 years old, came to the family abused and neglected, Wisner says.
Dear Thief is worthy of the abused critical adjectives philosophical, atmospheric, and masterful.
She was sexually and verbally abused, leading her to the brink of suicide.A Quorum For Change: The Fight For Global LGBT Equality | Justin Jones | December 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
As a result, the inexperienced can find themselves earning well below minimum wage, or abused by underhanded employers.Amazon’s Turkers Kick Off the First Crowdsourced Labor Guild | Kevin Zawacki | December 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The tough African-French girls living in the projects in Girlhood have been abused and pushed out of the system.
But he was quite right in carping at her, for fortune, like other fickle jades, is more likely to be true if steadily abused.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
In brief, Chumru abused the English with such an air that he was regarded by the rebels as quite an acquisition.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
Parr was an arrogant old coxcomb, who abused the respectful kindness he received, and took his pipe into drawing-rooms.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
In previous pages I have spoken of the manner in which the railways of Ireland had long been abused.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
They abused the young men indecently: and the children fell under the wood.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
British Dictionary definitions for abuse
to use incorrectly or improperly; misuse
to maltreat, esp physically or sexually
to speak insultingly or cruelly to; revile
(reflexive) to masturbate
improper, incorrect, or excessive use; misuse
maltreatment of a person; injury
insulting, contemptuous, or coarse speech
an evil, unjust, or corrupt practice
See child abuse
archaic a deception
- abuser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012