synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of abuse in English

English Online Dictionary. What means abuse‎? What does abuse mean?


Etymology 1

From Middle English abusen, then from either Old French abus (improper use), or from Latin abūsus (misused, using up), perfect active participle of abūtor (make improper use of, consume, abuse), from ab (away) + ūtor (to use). Equivalent to ab- +‎ use.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əˈbjuːs/
  • (General American) enPR: əbyo͞os', IPA(key): /əˈbjus/
  • Hyphenation: ab‧use


abuse (countable and uncountable, plural abuses)

  1. Improper treatment or usage; application to a wrong or bad purpose; an unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom. [from around 1350 to 1470]
    Synonym: misuse
  2. Misuse; improper use; perversion. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1788, Federalist, James Madison, Number 63
      Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty, as well as by the abuses of power.
  3. (obsolete) A delusion; an imposture; misrepresentation; deception. [from mid 16th c. – mid 17th c.]
  4. Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; language that unjustly or angrily vilifies. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1950 February 11, Alhaji Na-Alhaji in Gaskiya Fa Ti Kwabo:
      But he and all the southerners who indulge in this abuse in the newspapers should realize that this will not enable us to find a solution to our problem but will merely aggravate it.
    Synonyms: invective, contumely, reproach, scurrility, insult, opprobrium
  5. (now rare) Catachresis. [from late 16th c.]
    Synonym: abusio
  6. Physical maltreatment; injury; cruel treatment. [from late 16th c.]
  7. Violation; defilement; rape; forcing of undesired sexual activity by one person on another, often on a repeated basis. [from late 16th c.]
Usage notes
  • (misuse, perversion): Typically followed by the word of.
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English abusen, from Middle French abuser, from Latin abūsus (misused, using up), perfect active participle of abūtor (to use up, misuse, consume), from ab (from, away from) + ūtor (to use).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əˈbjuːz/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /əˈbjuz/, enPR: əbyo͞oz'
  • Hyphenation: abuse


abuse (third-person singular simple present abuses, present participle abusing, simple past and past participle abused)

  1. (transitive) To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to use improperly; to misuse; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert [from around 1350 to 1470.]
  2. (transitive) To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty, especially repeatedly. [from mid 16th c.]
    Synonyms: maltreat, injure
  3. (transitive) To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile; malign; to speak in an offensive manner to or about someone; to disparage. [from early 17th c.]
    Synonyms: revile, reproach, vilify, vituperate; see also Thesaurus:offend
    • 1991, Yakubu Yahaya, quoted in: 2001, Toyin Falola, Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, p. 199:
      So we were angered by this and we could not tolerate this one because prophet Mohammed has been abused so many times in this country. Awolowo abused him sometimes ago saying that he was more successful and popular that[sic] Mohammed and Jesus.
  4. (transitive) To imbibe a drug for a purpose other than it was intended; to intentionally take more of a drug than was prescribed for recreational reasons; to take illegal drugs habitually. [from mid 20th c.]
  5. (transitive, archaic) To violate; defile; to rape. [from around 1350 to 1470]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  6. (transitive, obsolete) Misrepresent; adulterate. [from around 1350 to 1470 – mid 18th c.]
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To deceive; to trick; to impose on; misuse the confidence of. [from late 15th c. – early 19th c.]
    • 1651-2, Jeremy Taylor, "Sermon VI, The House of Feasting; or, The Epicures Measures", in The works of Jeremy Taylor, Volume 1, page 283 (1831), edited by Thomas Smart Hughes
      When Cyrus had espied Astyages and his fellows coming drunk from a banquet loaden with variety of follies and filthiness, their legs failing them, their eyes red and staring, cozened with a moist cloud and abused by a double object
  8. (transitive, obsolete, Scotland) Disuse. [from late 15th century – mid 16th c.]
Derived terms
Related terms


  • “abuse” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, →ISBN, page 10.


  • aubes, beaus




  1. first-person singular present indicative of abuser
  2. third-person singular present indicative of abuser
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of abuser
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of abuser
  5. second-person singular imperative of abuser


  • aubes




  1. vocative masculine singular of abūsus




  1. first-person singular present subjunctive of abusar
  2. third-person singular present subjunctive of abusar
  3. first-person singular imperative of abusar
  4. third-person singular imperative of abusar



  • IPA(key): /aˈbuse/, [aˈβuse]



  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of abusar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of abusar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of abusar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of abusar.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.