abuse definition, meaning - what is abuse in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “abuse”

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abuse

verb [T] uk   us   /əˈbjuːz/

abuse verb [T] (USE WRONGLY)

to use something for the wrong purpose in a way that is harmful or morally wrong: She is continually abusing her position/authority by getting other people to do things for her. I never expected that he would abuse the trust I placed in him. to abuse alcohol
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abuse verb [T] (TREAT CRUELLY)

to treat someone cruelly or violently: Several of the children had been sexually/physically/emotionally abused.

abuse verb [T] (SPEAK RUDELY)

to speak to someone rudely or cruelly: The crowd started abusing him after he failed to save a goal.
abuser
noun [C] uk   /əˈbjuː.zər/  us   /-zɚ/
a child abuser a drug/solvent abuser

abuse

noun uk   us   /əˈbjuːs/

abuse noun (WRONG USE)

B2 [C or U] the use of something in a way that is harmful or morally wrong: an abuse (= wrong use) of privilege/power/someone's kindness Drug and alcohol abuse (= using these substances in a bad way) contributed to his early death.
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abuse noun (CRUEL BEHAVIOUR)

B2 cruel, violent, or unfair treatment of someone: She claimed to have been a victim of child abuse . sexual/physical/mental abuse (= bad treatment)

abuse noun (RUDE SPEECH)

C2 [U] rude and offensive words said to another person: He had apparently experienced a lot of verbal abuse from his co-workers. He hurled (a stream/torrent of) abuse at her (= he said a lot of rude and offensive things to her). "Idiot!" is a term of abuse (= an insulting expression).
(Definition of abuse from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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