[verb uh-byooz; noun uh-byoos]

verb (used with object), a·bused, a·bus·ing.



    abuse oneself, to masturbate.

Origin of abuse

1400–50; (v.) late Middle English abusen < Middle French abuser, verbal derivative of abus < Latin abūsus misuse, wasting, equivalent to abūt(ī) to use up, misuse (ab- ab- + ūtī to use) + -tus suffix of v. action; (noun) late Middle English abus < Middle French abus or Latin abūsus
Related formsa·bus·a·ble [uh-byoo-zuh-buhl] /əˈbyu zə bəl/, adjectivea·bus·er, nounan·ti·a·buse, adjectiveo·ver·a·buse, noun, verb (used with object), o·ver·a·bused, o·ver·a·bus·ing.un·a·bus·a·ble, adjectiveun·a·bused, adjective

Synonyms for abuse

Synonym study

7. Abuse, censure, invective all mean strongly expressed disapproval. Abuse implies an outburst of harsh and scathing words against another (often one who is defenseless): abuse directed against an opponent. Censure implies blame, adverse criticism, or hostile condemnation: severe censure of acts showing bad judgment. Invective applies to strong but formal denunciation in speech or print, often in the public interest: invective against graft.

Antonyms for abuse

3, 7. praise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for over-abuse


verb (əˈbjuːz) (tr)

to use incorrectly or improperly; misuse
to maltreat, esp physically or sexually
to speak insultingly or cruelly to; revile
(reflexive) to masturbate

noun (əˈbjuːs)

improper, incorrect, or excessive use; misuse
maltreatment of a person; injury
insulting, contemptuous, or coarse speech
an evil, unjust, or corrupt practice
archaic a deception
Derived Formsabuser, noun

Word Origin for abuse

c14 (vb): via Old French from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī to misuse, from ab- 1 + ūtī to use
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 over-abuse



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

over-abuse in Medicine




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.
Related formsa•buser n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.