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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 ?
The spurious wise, however, all the priests, the world-weary, and those whose souls are of feminine and servile nature--oh, how hath their game all along abused selfishness!
The studied indifference, insolence, and discontent of her husband gave her no pain; and when he scolded or abused her, she was highly diverted.
Gryphus again went up in his fury to Van Baerle, abused him, threatened him, knocked all the miserable furniture of his cell about, and promised him all sorts of misery, even starvation and flogging.
Cornelius, without even hearing what his jailer said, allowed himself to be ill-treated, abused, and threatened, remaining all the while sullen, immovable, dead to every emotion and fear.
As usual, the fickle, unreasoning world took Muff Potter to its bosom and fondled him as lavishly as it had abused him before.
On ordinary occasions it might not be exerted with the requisite firmness, and on extraordinary occasions it might be perfidiously abused.
Previously abused individuals display elevated blood concentrations of inflammatory substances that fight infections and repair damaged tissue, say psychologist Andrea Danese of King's College London and her colleagues.
Preadolescents and adolescents who are enrolled in Medicaid and seek reproductive health services have an elevated likelihood of being abused or engaging in criminal behavior, both before and after their reproductive health visits, according to a recent cross-sectional analysis of Alaskan public health databases.
She had been a victim of child abuse by her father, and she was physically, verbally, and sexually abused by two husbands.
Whatever the situation that families and children find themselves in, the impact on children is clear--those who have been abused struggle to properly access the academic curriculum and to learn effectively.
The controversial parental alienation syndrome, which arose in the family court system in the early 1990s, holds that a parent brainwashes children into believing that the other parent has abused them and makes false allegations to authorities in custody cases.
The horror of youngsters using anabolic steroids really hits home when you consider the story of Taylor Hooten, a talented high school athlete from Plano, TX, who abused anabolic steroids and suffered from extreme depression once he withdrew from them.