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(1)   Cruel or inhumane treatment
(2)   Improper or excessive use
(3)   A rude expression intended to offend or hurt
"When a student made a stupid mistake he spared them no abuse"
"They yelled insults at the visiting team"


(4)   Change the inherent purpose or function of something
"Don't abuse the system"
"The director of the factory misused the funds intended for the health care of his workers"
(5)   Use wrongly or improperly or excessively
"Her husband often abuses alcohol"
"While she was pregnant, she abused drugs"
(6)   Use foul or abusive language towards
"The actress abused the policeman who gave her a parking ticket"
"The angry mother shouted at the teacher"
(7)   Treat badly
"This boss abuses his workers"
"She is always stepping on others to get ahead"


  1. Improper treatment or usage; application to a wrong or bad purpose; misuse; perversion.
    • Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty, as well as by the abuses of power.- James Madison
  2. Physical or verbal maltreatment; injury.
  3. Sexual assault; violation; rape.
  4. An unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime; fault.
  5. Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language.
    • The two parties, after exchanging a good deal of abuse, came to blows. - Thomas Babington Macaulay


Etymology 2

From or abuser, from abusus, past participle stem of abuti, from ab- + uti "to use".


  1. To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to use improperly; to misuse; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert; as, to abuse one's authority.
    • This principle (if one may so abuse the word) shoots rapidly into popularity. - James Anthony Froude
  2. To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty.
  3. To rape; to assault; to ravish; to violate.
  4. To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile.
  5. To deceive; to trick; to impose on.
    Their eyes red and staring, cozened with a moist cloud, and abused by a double object. - Jeremy Taylor

  • maltreat
  • injure
  • revile
  • reproach
  • vilify
  • vituperate
  • asperse
  • traduce
  • malign

See also Wikisaurus:offend