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
When it paused the service earlier this year, the company said it was investigating reports of abuse, especially from malware groups.
Regular testing can help the department identify officers with substance abuse issues as well.The policing reforms in the Breonna Taylor settlement, explained | Fabiola Cineas | September 17, 2020 | Vox
She said the lead agency into the woman’s allegations is now the Justice Department’s Inspector General, which oversees accusations of civil rights abuses.ICE Deported a Woman Who Accused Guards of Sexual Assault While the Feds Were Still Investigating the Incident | by Lomi Kriel | September 15, 2020 | ProPublica
What I do know from the research that’s out there on abuse and abusers is that there’s a range of, I’d say of levels of denial that they are in … but I haven’t done any interviews.Can Anita Hill Forgive Joe Biden … and Work With Him? | Pallabi Munsi | September 14, 2020 | Ozy
In 2018, for example, Facebook was slow to act on misinformation spreading in Myanmar that ultimately led to human rights abuses.AI ethics groups are repeating one of society’s classic mistakes | Amy Nordrum | September 14, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
These were cops who had worked the protests and suffered the accompanying verbal taunts and abuse.
You get these high-profile people that go into prison, and the staff abuse their authority.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’ | Michael Howard | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
When they get someone high profile, like the governor [Bob McDonnell] or like Teresa, they will abuse their positions.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’ | Michael Howard | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Perhaps one of the most egregious examples is the abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws.
It needs to be said: bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry; child abuse wrapped in a Bible verse is still child abuse.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen | Parker Molloy | January 1, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Quaint old Burton in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," recognizes the virtues of the plant while he anathematizes its abuse.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
He shan't marry me without your consent, so don't be angry and abuse us all; for which you will be sorry an hour hence.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
Notwithstanding, they bear with much patience a great deal of abuse from unkind masters.Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
This abuse, as the years went on, instead of diminishing grew in strength if not in grace.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
On the other hand directors are not permitted to abuse their power; they must act in good faith.Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman | Albert Sidney Bolles
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