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First appeared 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 in 1942.


abusage (countable and uncountable, plural abusages)

  1. (obsolete) Abuse. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the mid 17th century.][1]
  2. Improper or incorrect use of language. [First attested in the mid 20th century.][1]
    A stickler for the rules of grammar, Mrs. Walker cringes when she encounters any abusage by the students in her freshman English class.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], →ISBN), page 10