abuse - definition and synonyms

verb [transitive] 

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present tense
present participleabusing
past tenseabused
past participleabused
  1. 1
    to treat someone in a cruel or violent way
    1. a.
      to have sex with someone who is unable to refuse

      A high percentage of abusive parents were themselves abused as children.

  2. 2
    to use something in a bad, dishonest, or harmful way

    They were accused of abusing their power to keep prices artificially high.

    Those with access to private information must not abuse that trust.

    1. a.
      to use alcohol or illegal drugs in a way that is harmful to your health

derived word


noun [countable]