Definition of


  1. (noun, act) cruel or inhumane treatment
  2. (noun, act) improper or excessive use
    the abuse of public funds
  3. (noun, communication) a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
    they yelled insults at the visiting team
  4. (verb, change) change the inherent purpose or function of something
    The director of the factory misused the funds intended for the health care of his workers
  5. (verb, change) use wrongly or improperly or excessively
    while she was pregnant, she abused drugs
  6. (verb, communication) use foul or abusive language towards
    The angry mother shouted at the teacher
  7. (verb, social) treat badly
    She is always stepping on others to get ahead

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Abuse

  1. early 15c., from M.Fr. abuser, from V.L. *abusare, from L. abusus, pp. of abuti "use up," also "misuse," from ab- "away" + uti "use" (see use). Specifically of drugs, from 1968. The noun is first recorded mid-15c., from Fr. abus (14c.). more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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