Definition of “abusive” - English Dictionary

“abusive” in British English

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abusiveadjective

uk /əˈbjuː.sɪv/ us /əˈbjuː.sɪv/

C2 using rude and offensive words:

an abusive letter/phone call
He was apparently abusive to the flight attendants.

More examples

  • Her husband's violent and abusive behaviour drove her to despair.
  • She turned around and made an abusive gesture at me.
  • What do you do if a customer starts getting abusive and angry?
  • The film contains violence and abusive language and is unsuitable for children.
  • She left because the boss was very unpleasant and abusive towards her.

(Definition of “abusive” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“abusive” in American English

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abusiveadjective

us /əˈbju·sɪv, -zɪv/

treating someone badly or cruelly, esp. physically:

He was a very strict parent, but never abusive.

(Definition of “abusive” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“abusive” in Business English

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abusiveadjective

uk /əˈbjuːsɪv/ us

using rude and offensive words:

She was sacked for sending an abusive email to a colleague.
abusive calls/comments/language

involving bad or wrong use of something or treatment of someone, especially for your own advantage:

The former chairman was found guilty of abusive practices and banned from buying or selling shares.
Workers complained of abusive conditions, where they were forced to work 18 hours a day.

(Definition of “abusive” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)