First appeared in Middle English, c. 1450–1475, meaning “sexual misconduct” (cf. abuse (“forcing of undesired sexual activity”)), later in the 16th century as a general synonym of abuse, but fell into disuse after just a couple of centuries. The word re-emerged with a new grammar-specific sense after Eric Partridge published a book on grammar titled Usage and Abusage: A Guide to Good English (a pun on "use and abuse") in 1942.
- (obsolete) Abuse. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the mid 17th century.]
- Improper or incorrect use of language. [First attested in the mid 20th century.]
- A stickler for the rules of grammar, Mrs. Walker cringes when she encounters any abusage by the students in her freshman English class.
- ^ “abūsaǧe, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abusage”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 10.