Definition of abuse noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈbjuːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈbjuːs//
    Types of crime, Anger
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  1. 1  [uncountable, singular] the use of something in a way that is wrong or harmful synonym misuse alcohol/drug/solvent 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. Wordfinderabuse, addict, deal, dependence, detoxification, drug, hallucinate, overdose, rehab, withdrawal
  2. 2  [uncountable, plural] unfair, cruel or violent treatment of somebody child abuse sexual abuse reported abuses by the secret police She suffered years of physical abuse. See related entries: Types of crime
  3. 3  [uncountable] rude and offensive remarks, usually made when somebody 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 related entries: Anger
  4. Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French from Latin abus- ‘misused’, from the verb abuti, from ab- ‘away’ (i.e. ‘wrongly’) + uti ‘to use’.Extra examples Calling someone stupid is definitely a term of abuse. He was subjected to a torrent of abuse. She was subjected to regular sexual abuse. The child had taken a lot of emotional abuse. The legal system is open to abuse. The team who lost became a target of abuse for angry fans. They had to endure continual racial abuse. abuse of prisoners allegations of child abuse allegations of human rights abuses six cases of suspected child abuse He was arrested on charges of corruption and abuse of power. The system of paying cash bonuses is open to abuse. a stream/​torrent of abuse alcohol/​drug/​solvent abuse child/​sexual abuse to scream/​hurl/​shout abuse
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: abuse