Meaning of ABUSE in English


I. ə-ˈbyüs noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French abus, from Latin abusus, from abuti to consume, from ab- + uti to use

Date: 15th century

1. : a corrupt practice or custom

2. : improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse

drug abuse

abuse of tranquilizers

3. obsolete : a deceitful act : deception

4. : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily

5. : physical maltreatment


abuse , vituperation , invective , obloquy , billingsgate mean vehemently expressed condemnation or disapproval. abuse , the most general term, usually implies the anger of the speaker and stresses the harshness of the language

scathing verbal abuse

vituperation implies fluent and sustained abuse

a torrent of vituperation

invective implies a comparable vehemence but suggests greater verbal and rhetorical skill and may apply to a public denunciation

blistering political invective

obloquy suggests defamation and consequent shame and disgrace

subjected to obloquy and derision

billingsgate implies practiced fluency and variety of profane or obscene abuse

directed a stream of billingsgate at the cabdriver

II. ə-ˈbyüz transitive verb

( abused ; abus·ing )

Date: 15th century


a. : to put to a wrong or improper use

abuse a privilege

b. : to use excessively

abuse alcohol

also : to use without medical justification

abuse ing painkillers

2. obsolete : deceive

3. : to use so as to injure or damage : maltreat

4. : to attack in words : revile

• abus·able -ˈbyü-zə-bəl adjective

• abus·er noun

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.