abuse

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See also: abusé

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English abusen, then from either Old French abus (improper use), or from Latin abūsus (misused, using up), perfect active participle of abūtor (make improper use of, consume, abuse), from ab (away) + ūtor (to use).[1] Equivalent to ab- +‎ use.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

abuse (countable and uncountable, plural abuses)

  1. Improper treatment or usage; application to a wrong or bad purpose; an unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom. [from around 1350 to 1470]
    All abuse, whether physical, verbal, psychological or sexual, is bad.
    Synonym: misuse
  2. Misuse; improper use; perversion. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1788, Federalist, James Madison, Number 63
      Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty, as well as by the abuses of power.
    • 2012 March-April, Jan Sapp, “Race Finished”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 164:
      Few concepts are as emotionally charged as that of race. The word conjures up a mixture of associations—culture, ethnicity, genetics, subjugation, exclusion and persecution. But is the tragic history of efforts to define groups of people by race really a matter of the misuse of science, the abuse of a valid biological concept?
  3. (obsolete) A delusion; an imposture; misrepresentation; deception. [from mid 16th c. – mid 17th c.]
  4. Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; language that unjustly or angrily vilifies. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1861, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The history of England: from the accession of James the Second, volume 9, page 153:
      The two parties, after exchanging a good deal of abuse, came to blows.
    • 1950 February 11, Alhaji Na-Alhaji in Gaskiya Fa Ti Kwabo:
      But he and all the southerners who indulge in this abuse in the newspapers should realize that this will not enable us to find a solution to our problem but will merely aggravate it.
    • 2020, “Coronavirus: Teenage girls arrested after 'abusing Chinese people wearing face masks in racially-motivated attack'”, in The Independent:
      The pair – aged 14 and 15 years old – have been accused of assaulting and shouting abuse at four people in central Southampton, police have said.
    Synonyms: invective, contumely, reproach, scurrility, insult, opprobrium
  5. (now rare)   Catachresis. [from late 16th c.]
  6. Physical maltreatment; injury; cruel treatment. [from late 16th c.]
  7. Violation; defilement; rape; forcing of undesired sexual activity by one person on another, often on a repeated basis. [from late 16th c.]
Usage notes[edit]
  • (misuse, perversion): Typically followed by the word of.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English abusen, from Middle French abuser, from Latin abūsus (misused, using up), perfect active participle of abūtor (to use up, misuse, consume), from ab (from, away from) + ūtor (to use).[2][1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

abuse (third-person singular simple present abuses, present participle abusing, simple past and past participle abused)

  1. (transitive) To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to use improperly; to misuse; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert [from around 1350 to 1470.]
    He abused his authority.
    • 1856, James Anthony Froude, History of England from the fall of Wolsey to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, volume 1, published 1870, page 353:
      This principle (if we may so abuse the word) shot rapidly into popularity
  2. (transitive) To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty, especially repeatedly. [from mid 16th c.]
    Synonyms: maltreat, injure
    • (Can we date this quote?), R. S. Thomas, At It:
      And I would have things to say to this God at the judgement, storming at him, as Job stormed with the eloquence of the abused heart.
  3. (transitive) To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile; malign; to speak in an offensive manner to or about someone; to disparage. [from early 17th c.]
    Synonyms: revile, reproach, vilify, vituperate; see also Thesaurus:offend
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 14, in The History of England from the Accession of James II:
      The [] tellers of news abused the general.
    • 1904, W. B. Yeats, The King's Threshold:
      But ever and always curse him and abuse him.
    • 1991, Yakubu Yahaya, quoted in: 2001, Toyin Falola, Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, p. 199:
      So we were angered by this and we could not tolerate this one because prophet Mohammed has been abused so many times in this country. Awolowo abused him sometimes ago saying that he was more successful and popular that[sic] Mohammed and Jesus.
    • 2020, “'Our team are here to help, not hurt': Woolworths urge customers not to abuse staff”, in Nine News:
      However, shortages have seen customers yelling at employees, and abusing staff members as they work frantically to keep up with demand.
  4. (transitive) To imbibe a drug for a purpose other than it was intended; to intentionally take more of a drug than was prescribed for recreational reasons; to take illegal drugs habitually. [from mid 20th c.]
  5. (transitive, archaic) To violate; defile; to rape. [from around 1350 to 1470]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  6. (transitive, obsolete) Misrepresent; adulterate. [from around 1350 to 1470 – mid 18th c.]
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To deceive; to trick; to impose on; misuse the confidence of. [from late 15th c. – early 19th c.]
    • 1651-2, Jeremy Taylor, "Sermon VI, The House of Feasting; or, The Epicures Measures", in The works of Jeremy Taylor, Volume 1, page 283 (1831), edited by Thomas Smart Hughes
      When Cyrus had espied Astyages and his fellows coming drunk from a banquet loaden with variety of follies and filthiness, their legs failing them, their eyes red and staring, cozened with a moist cloud and abused by a double object
  8. (transitive, obsolete, Scotland) Disuse. [from late 15th century – mid 16th c.]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], →ISBN), page 8
  2. ^ “abuse” in William Morris, editor, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New York, N.Y.: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1971 [1969], →OCLC, page 6.

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Verb[edit]

abuse

  1. first-person singular present indicative of abuser
  2. third-person singular present indicative of abuser
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of abuser
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of abuser
  5. second-person singular imperative of abuser

Anagrams[edit]


Latin[edit]

Participle[edit]

abūse

  1. vocative masculine singular of abūsus

Portuguese[edit]

Verb[edit]

abuse

  1. first-person singular present subjunctive of abusar
  2. third-person singular present subjunctive of abusar
  3. first-person singular imperative of abusar
  4. third-person singular imperative of abusar

Spanish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /aˈbuse/, [aˈβuse]

Verb[edit]

abuse

  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of abusar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of abusar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of abusar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of abusar.