American English

Definition of abuse noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, singular] the use of something in a way that is wrong or harmful synonym misuse alcohol/drug abuse The system of paying cash bonuses is open to abuse (= might be used in the wrong way). abuse of something He was arrested on charges of corruption and abuse of power. What she did was an abuse of her position as manager. see also substance abuse
  2. 2[uncountable, plural] unfair, cruel, or violent treatment of someone child abuse sexual abuse reported abuses by the secret police She suffered years of physical abuse.
  3. 3[uncountable] rude and offensive remarks, usually made when someone is very angry synonym insult to scream/hurl/shout abuse a stream/torrent of abuse The man burst into a torrent of foul-mouthed racist abuse.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: abuse