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tr.v. a·bused, a·bus·ing, a·bus·es
1. To use improperly or excessively; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use: animals that were abused by a negligent owner.
3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
4. To assail with insulting or hurtful words; revile.
5. Obsolete To deceive or trick.
n. (ə-byo͞os′)
a. Improper or excessive use; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
b. Rough treatment or use: shoes that have taken a lot of abuse.
a. Physical maltreatment or violence: spousal abuse.
b. Sexual abuse.
c. Insulting or hurtful language, especially when used to threaten or demoralize: subjected her subordinates to verbal abuse.
3. An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.
abuse oneself
To masturbate.

[Middle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī, to misuse : ab-, away; see ab-1 + ūtī, to use.]

a·bus′er n.
Synonyms: abuse, misuse, mistreat, ill-treat, maltreat
These verbs mean to treat wrongfully or harmfully. Abuse applies to injurious or improper treatment: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us" (Aldo Leopold).
Misuse stresses incorrect or unknowledgeable handling: "How often misused words generate misleading thoughts" (Herbert Spencer).
Mistreat, ill-treat, and maltreat all share the sense of inflicting injury, often intentionally: "I had seen many more patients die from being mistreated for consumption than from consumption itself" (Earl of Lytton)."Experienced people ... become suspicious of those who by their own account are invariably ill-treated by the world" (Bertrand Russell)."[The professor was charged with] underpaying, neglecting, or otherwise maltreating his assistants" (David Rains Wallace).
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.abused - used improperly or excessively especially drugsabused - used improperly or excessively especially drugs; "an abused substance"
misused - used incorrectly or carelessly or for an improper purpose; "misused words are often laughable but one weeps for misused talents"
2.abused - subjected to cruel treatment; "an abused wife"
unabused - not physically abused; treated properly
References in classic literature ?
I didn't know how much till she abused you," began Meg.
He abused Tom Willard, and that led Elizabeth to come to the clerk's defense.
Man's voice is given to him, like his other talents, to be used, and not to be abused.
He seemed in a very bad temper, and abused the hostler, though I could not tell what for.
Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can't give a warm supper and a bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things
The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.
So I did not talk blood and insurrection to that man there who sat munching black bread with that abused and mistaught herd of human sheep, but took him aside and talked matter of another sort to him.
He abused me a little for being so slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and that was what made me so long.
It was just so with my Joe -- always full of his devilment, and up to every kind of mischief, but he was just as unselfish and kind as he could be -- and laws bless me, to think I went and whipped him for taking that cream, never once recollecting that I throwed it out myself because it was sour, and I never to see him again in this world, never, never, never, poor abused boy
This time we regarded as our own, by the grace of our masters; and we therefore used or abused it nearly as we pleased.
But she was not at all sorry that she had abused the housekeeper the other day.
The studied indifference, insolence, and discontent of her husband gave her no pain; and when he scolded or abused her, she was highly diverted.