abuse - definition and synonyms


Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] cruel, violent, or unfair treatment, especially of someone who does not have the power to prevent it

    The regime had been responsible for serious human rights abuses.

    abuse of:

    Physical abuse and neglect of children is too common.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] forced sexual activity with someone who cannot prevent it

      Several female students have made allegations of abuse against him.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] the use of something in a bad, dishonest, or harmful way
    abuse of power/privilege/position:

    This is clearly an abuse of power.

    open to abuse (=capable of being abused):

    All polling methods are potentially open to abuse.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in a way that is harmful to your health
  3. 3
    [uncountable] angry offensive comments
    shout/scream/hurl abuse:

    Blake was alleged to have hurled racist abuse at a student.