Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
  • transitive v. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
  • transitive v. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
  • transitive v. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To deceive or trick.
  • n. Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
  • n. Physical maltreatment: spousal abuse.
  • n. Sexual abuse.
  • n. An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.
  • n. Insulting or coarse language: verbal abuse.
  • idiom abuse oneself Vulgar To masturbate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Improper treatment or use; application to a wrong or bad purpose; misuse
  • n. Physical ill treatment; injury.
  • n. A corrupt practice or custom; offense; crime; fault.
  • n. Vituperative words; coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; virulent condemnation; reviling.
  • n. Violation; rape.
  • transitive v. To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to misuse; to put to a bad use; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert; ; to make an excessive use of.
  • transitive v. To use ill; to maltreat; to act injuriously to; to punish or to tax excessively; to hurt.
  • transitive v. To revile; to reproach coarsely; to disparage.
  • transitive v. To dishonor.
  • transitive v. To violate; to ravish.
  • transitive v. To deceive; to impose on.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To use ill; misuse; put to a wrong or bad use; divert from the proper use; misapply: as, to abuse rights or privileges; to abuse words.
  • To do wrong to; act injuriously toward; injure; disgrace; dishonor.
  • To violate; ravish; defile. To attack with contumelious language; revile. To deceive; impose on; mislead.
  • Synonyms To Abuse, Misuse, misapply, misemploy, pervert, profane. Abuse and misuse are closely synonymous terms, but misuse conveys more particularly the idea of using inappropriately, abuse that of treating injuriously. In general, abuse is the stronger word.
  • To maltreat, ill-use, injure. To revile, reproach, vilify, rate, berate, vituperate, rail at.
  • n. Ill use; improper treatment or employment; application to a wrong purpose; improper use or application: as, an abuse of our natural powers; an abuse of civil rights, or of religious privileges; abuse of advantages; abuse of words.
  • n. Ill treatment of a person; injury; insult; dishonor; especially, ill treatment in words; contumelious language.
  • n. A corrupt practice or custom; an offense; a crime; a fault: as, the abuses of government.
  • n. Violation; defilement: as, self-abuse. Deception.
  • n. Abuse, Invective, maltreatment, outrage; vituperation, contumely, scolding, reviling, aspersion, slander, obloquy. (See invective.) “ Abuse as compared with invective is more personal and coarse, being conveyed in harsh and unseemly terms, and dictated by angry feeling and bitter temper. Invective is more commonly aimed at character or conduct, and may be conveyed in writing and in refined language, and dictated by indignation against what is in itself blameworthy. It often, however, means public abuse under such restraints as are imposed by position and education.”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
  • v. use wrongly or improperly or excessively
  • v. change the inherent purpose or function of something
  • v. use foul or abusive language towards
  • n. improper or excessive use
  • n. cruel or inhumane treatment
  • v. treat badly

Etymologies

Middle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī, to misuse : ab-, away; see ab-1 + ūtī, to use.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English abusen, then from either Old French abus ("improper use"), or from Latin abūsus ("misused, using up")[2], perfect active participle of abūtor ("make improper use of, consume, abuse"), from ab ("away") + ūtor ("to use").[3] (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Let's see...*muttering*...a little teapot, Japanese schoolgirl, The Hammer...

    I'm sure I've missed some. ;-)

    November 5, 2008

  • Are we keeping ebaysalvageyard, then? There's probably a spare pedestal next to Mi-Vox and Friday.

    November 5, 2008

  • Hammer time! *cues music* "Can't touch this..."

    November 5, 2008

  • Thanks, John--particularly on what must be a crazy day for you at work. I don't think your protection of the site's original purpose should be considered particularly heavy-handed....

    Hammer Man. ;)

    November 5, 2008

  • I was going to suggest having a more prominent link to promotion somewhere, maybe on a landing page for new Wordie accounts, but since Basil clearly didn't look around much I wonder whether that would really have helped.

    November 5, 2008

  • See sound lantern for an explanation of what happened, John.

    November 5, 2008

  • I just nuked that abusive Basil account--sorry for the gap in the historical record I just created. What's going on here? I'm like The Hammer these days :-)

    November 5, 2008