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Definition of "abuse" [a•buse]

  • To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege. (verb-transitive)
  • To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use. (verb-transitive)
  • To force sexual activity on; rape or molest. (verb-transitive)
  • To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile. (verb-transitive)
  • Obsolete To deceive or trick. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "abuse" in a sentence
  • "This jackass didn't do this out of the blue like many abusers who are moderate then get extreme; this level of abuse ** was the pattern of abuse** for this poor girl."
  • "_truth_ abuse them? does the _exposition_ of the _foulest combination_ that ever disgraced this or any other county, _constitute abuse_?"
  • "To the previous facts you are a witness, and best know how far my recapitulation is correct; and I request that you will inform Mr. Perry from me, that I wonder he should permit such an abuse of my name in his paper; I say an _abuse_, because my absence, at least, demands some respect, and my presence and positive sanction could alone justify him in such a proceeding, even were the lines mine; and if false, there are no words for him."