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Legal Dictionary

abuse

Legal Definition of abuse

Noun

  1. use improperly
  2. misuse
  3. result verbally
  4. maltreatment
    Example: Child abuse

Definition of abuse

Etymology 1

    From French or Old French abus, or Latin abusus.

Pronunciation

  • (RP)
    IPA: /əˈbjuːs/
    SAMPA:/@"bju:s/
  • (US)
    IPA /əˈbjus/
    SAMPA: /@"bjus/
    Audio (US) [?]

Noun

abuse (plural abuses)

  1. 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

  2. Physical or verbal maltreatment; injury.
  3. Sexual assault; violation; rape.
  4. An unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime; fault.
  5. Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language.

    The two parties, after exchanging a good deal of abuse, came to blows. - Thomas Babington Macaulay

Synonyms

  • invective
  • contumely
  • reproach
  • scurrility
  • insult
  • opprobrium

Derived terms

Etymology 2

    From French or Old French abuser, from Latin abusus, past participle stem of abuti, from ab- + uti "to use".

Pronunciation

  • (RP)
    IPA: /əˈbjuːz/
    SAMPA: /@"bju:z/
  • (US)
    IPA: /əˈbjuz/
    SAMPA: /@"bjuz/
    Audio (US) [?]

Verb

to abuse (third-person singular simple present abuses, present participle abusing, simple past and past participle abused)

  1. (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

  2. (transitive) To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty.
  3. (transitive) To rape; to assault; to ravish; to violate.
  4. (transitive) To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile.
  5. (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

Synonyms

  • maltreat
  • injure
  • revile
  • reproach
  • vilify
  • vituperate
  • asperse
  • traduce
  • malign

Derived terms

  • abusable
  • abusage
  • abuser

Related terms

  • abusive
  • abusively
  • abusiveness

Anagrams

  • Alphagram: abesu
  • beaus

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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