I. verb [with obj.] abuse /əˈbjuːz /

1. use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse

the judge abused his power by imposing the fines.
2. make excessive and habitual use of (alcohol or drugs, especially illegal ones).

at various times in her life she abused both alcohol and drugs.
3. treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly

riders who abuse their horses should be prosecuted.
4. assault (someone, especially a woman or child) sexually

he was a depraved man who had abused his two young daughters
(as adj. abused)
abused children.
5. ( abuse oneself)
‹euphemistic› masturbate.
6. use or treat in such a way as to cause damage or harm

he had been abusing his body for years.
7. speak to (someone) in an insulting and offensive way

the referee was abused by players from both teams.
II. noun [ mass noun] abuse /əˈbjuːs /

1. the improper use of something

alcohol abuse
[ count noun]

an abuse of public funds.

2. unjust or corrupt practice

protection against fraud and abuse
[ count noun]
human rights abuses.
3. cruel and violent treatment of a person or animal

a black eye and other signs of physical abuse.
4. violent treatment involving sexual assault, especially on a regular basis.

young people who have suffered sexual abuse.
5. insulting and offensive language

waving his fists and hurling abuse at the driver.
– origin late Middle English: via Old French from Latin abus- ‘misused’, from the verb abuti, from ab- ‘away’ (i.e. ‘wrongly’) + uti ‘to use’.

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