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
But most likely it was linked to the way priests identify with the poor in the face of government and criminal abuses.
Senate investigations have known about abuses in the CIA interrogation program for years.CIA Interrogation Chief: ‘Rectal Feeding,’ Broken Limbs Are News to Me | Kimberly Dozier | December 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
And yes, that authoritarian, patriarchal guru-power structure, invariably, always leads to abuses.Is India’s Fallen ‘God-Man’ So Different From a Megachurch Pastor? | Jay Michaelson | November 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Uber driver allegedly verbally and physically abuses passenger, Uber neglects to even apologize.
He became determined to locate other victims who would testify to abuses that could put Lebovits behind bars.
But with all her advantages Miss Solomonson failed with the old lord, and she abuses him to this day.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
But Decker's and Ben Jonson's works abound in allusions to tobacco, its uses and abuses.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
It was one of the abuses of that liberty of speech suddenly acquired under the new dominion.The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
It might be said to the Chinese, to the Japanese, to the English—your government swarms with abuses, which you do not correct!A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10) | Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
The grand secret is, to be in a better condition than others, even with enormous abuses.A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10) | Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
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