Legal Definition of abuse
- use improperly
- result verbally
Example: Child abuse
Definition of abuse
From French or Old French abus, or Latin abusus.
Audio (US) [?]
abuse (plural abuses)
- 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
- Physical or verbal maltreatment; injury.
- Sexual assault; violation; rape.
- An unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime; fault.
- Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language.
The two parties, after exchanging a good deal of abuse, came to blows. - Thomas Babington Macaulay
From French or Old French abuser, from Latin abusus, past participle stem of abuti, from ab- + uti "to use".
Audio (US) [?]
to abuse (third-person singular simple present abuses, present participle abusing, simple past and past participle abused)
- (transitive) 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
- (transitive) To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty.
- (transitive) To rape; to assault; to ravish; to violate.
- (transitive) To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile.
- (transitive) (obsolete) 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
Source: Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
TOP LEGAL TERMS THIS WEEK