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Etymology 1[edit]

mis- +‎ use (noun)



misuse (plural misuses)

  1. An incorrect, improper or unlawful use of something.
    • 2012 June 4, Lewis Smith, “Queen's English Society says enuf is enough, innit?”, in the Guardian[1]:
      The Queen may be celebrating her jubilee but the Queen's English Society, which has railed against the misuse and deterioration of the English language, is to fold.

Etymology 2[edit]

mis- +‎ use (verb)



misuse (third-person singular simple present misuses, present participle misusing, simple past and past participle misused or (obsolete) misust)

  1. (transitive) To use (something) incorrectly. [from 14th c.]
  2. (transitive) To abuse or mistreat (something or someone). [from 14th c.]
  3. (transitive) To rape (a woman); later more generally, to sexually abuse (someone). [from 14th c.]
    • 2013, Philipp Meyer, The Son, Simon & Schuster 2014, p. 326:
      “If that is true she would be the first case I have ever heard of, as most female captives are misused by the entire tribe.”
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To abuse verbally, to insult. [16th-17th c.]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: What It Is. With All the Kindes, Cavses, Symptomes, Prognosticks, and Seuerall Cvres of It. In Three Maine Partitions, with Their Seuerall Sections, Members, and Svbsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically Opened and Cut Up, by Democritvs Iunior, with a Satyricall Preface, Conducing to the Following Discourse, 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , II.3.7:
      Socrates was brought upon the stage by Aristophanes, and misused to his face: but he laughed, as if it concerned him not […].