• synonyms


  1. using, containing, or characterized by harshly or coarsely insulting language: an abusive author; abusive remarks.
  2. treating badly or injuriously; mistreating, especially physically: his abusive handling of the horse.
  3. wrongly used; corrupt: an abusive exercise of power.
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Origin of abusive

From the Late Latin word abūsīvus, dating back to 1575–85. See abuse, -ive
Related formsa·bu·sive·ly, adverba·bu·sive·ness, nounnon·a·bu·sive, adjectivenon·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbnon·a·bu·sive·ness, nouno·ver·a·bu·sive, adjectiveo·ver·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·a·bu·sive·ness, nounun·a·bu·sive, adjectiveun·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbun·a·bu·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for abusively

Historical Examples

  • I was told that he is still talking angrily and abusively of us, and I was indignant.

    War's Brighter Side

    Julian Ralph.

  • We know men who have what may be styled, and what sometimes is abusively styled, a double life.

    The Will to Doubt

    Alfred H. Lloyd

  • He is neither piously inclined, nor hysterically fearful, nor abusively rebellious—he simply waits his fate.

  • Even upon an Assembly numerically limited, this innovation would have told most abusively.

British Dictionary definitions for abusively


  1. characterized by insulting or coarse language
  2. characterized by maltreatment
  3. incorrectly used; corrupt
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Derived Formsabusively, adverbabusiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for abusively



1530s (implied in abusively), originally "improper," from Middle French abusif, from Latin abusivus, from abus-, past participle stem of abuti (see abuse (v.)). Meaning "full of abuse" is from 1580s. Abuseful was used 17c., and Shakespeare has abusious ("Taming of the Shrew," 1594). Related: Abusiveness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper