tr.v., aÂ·bused, aÂ·busÂ·ing, aÂ·busÂ·es.
- To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
- To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
- To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
- To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
- Obsolete. To deceive or trick.
- Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
- Physical maltreatment: spousal abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.
- Insulting or coarse language: verbal abuse.
abuse oneself Vulgar.
- To masturbate.
[Middle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin abÅ«sus, past participle of abÅ«tÄ«, to misuse : ab-, away; see abâ€“1 + Å«tÄ«, to use.]abuser aÂ·bus'er n.
SYNONYMS abuse, misuse, mistreat, ill-treat, maltreat. These verbs mean to treat wrongfully or harmfully. Abuse applies to injurious or improper treatment: â€œWe abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to usâ€ (Aldo Leopold). Misuse stresses incorrect or unknowledgeable handling: â€œHow often misused words generate misleading thoughtsâ€ (Herbert Spencer). Mistreat, ill-treat, and maltreat all share the sense of inflicting injury, often intentionally: â€œI had seen many more patients die from being mistreated for consumption than from consumption itselfâ€ (Earl of Lytton). The army had orders not to ill-treat the prisoners. â€œWhen we misuse [a language other than our native language], we are in fact trying to reduce its element of foreignness. We let ourselves maltreat it as though it naturally belonged to usâ€ (Manchester Guardian Weekly).