- 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.
- Obsolete. deception.
- abuse oneself, to masturbate.
Origin of abuse
SynonymsSee more synonyms for abuse on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for abusing
Hasidic Judaism has a reputation for subverting and abusing women—and women have come forward with testimony to prove it.The Sisterhood of Bulletproof Stockings: It’s Ladies’ Night for Hasidic Rockers
September 30, 2014
Goddard was accused of abusing Michael Egan in Hawaii when Egan was a teenager.Third Hollywood Power Player Files Motion to Dismiss Sex Abuse Lawsuit
May 22, 2014
I told him, ‘He is abusing me every single day, what am I supposed to do?’Pope Francis Declares Divorcees Deserve Compassion, Too
March 9, 2014
This progresses to Fox abusing Spinelli at Fox's home, forcing him to engage in various sexual acts.How Frank Spinelli Fought to Bring His Molestor to Justice
March 2, 2014
Maday was accused of abusing between 35 and 45 children in Wisconsin, which is under the Chicago Archdiocese.Docs Reveal A Diocese’s Sins
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 22, 2014
Now, sir, where's the good of your abusing me, as if it was my fault?The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
Abusing Gurard, I went upstairs to my mother, whom I found at the open door.My Double Life
I am charged with being "dissatisfied with every thing, and abusing every body."Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863
My-Boots understood, and again set to abusing the old Jew Colombe.L'Assommoir
He was abusing the ardent faith and trust of his disciples, this false apostle!A Nest of Spies
- 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
Word Origin and History for abusing
mid-15c., "improper practice," from Old French abus (14c.), from Latin abusus (see abuse (v.)). Earlier in Middle English was abusion "wicked act or practice, shameful thing, violation of decency" (early 14c.), "an insult" (mid-14c.).
early 15c., "to misuse, misapply," from Middle French abuser, from Vulgar Latin *abusare, from Latin abusus "an abusing, using up," past participle of abuti "use up," also "misuse," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + uti "use" (see use). Of sexual situations from early 15c., but originally incest, homosexuality, prostitution, etc.; meaning "to misuse sexually, ravish" is from 1550s. Specifically of drugs, from 1968. Related: Abused; abusing.
- To use wrongly or improperly; misuse.
- To hurt or injure physically by maltreatment.
- To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
- To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
- Improper use or handling, as of a drug; misuse.
- Physical maltreatment, as of a spouse or child.
- The forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another.
- Sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful, as between an adult and a minor or with a person of diminished mental capacity.
- Insulting or coarse language.