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Houghton Mifflin

a·buse  audio  (-byz) KEY 

TRANSITIVE VERB:
a·bused, a·bus·ing, a·bus·es
  1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
  2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
  3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
  4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
  5. Obsolete To deceive or trick.
NOUN:
(-bys)
  1. Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
  2. Physical maltreatment: spousal abuse.
  3. Sexual abuse.
  4. An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.
  5. Insulting or coarse language: verbal abuse.

IDIOM:
abuse oneself Vulgar
To masturbate.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin absus, past participle of abt, to misuse : ab-, away ; see ab-1 + t, to use

OTHER FORMS:
a·buser(Noun)

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). The army had orders not to ill-treat the prisoners. "When we misuse [a language other than our native language], we are in fact trying to reduce its element of foreignness. We let ourselves maltreat it as though it naturally belonged to us" (Manchester Guardian Weekly).


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