English dictionary

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English noun: abuse

1. abuse (act) cruel or inhumane treatment

SamplesThe child showed signs of physical abuse.

Synonymsill-treatment, ill-usage, maltreatment

Broader (hypernym)mistreatment

Narrower (hyponym)child abuse, child neglect, cruelty, inhuman treatment, persecution

2. abuse (communication) a rude expression intended to offend or hurt

SamplesWhen a student made a stupid mistake he spared them no abuse.
They yelled insults at the visiting team.

Synonymscontumely, insult, revilement, vilification

Broader (hypernym)discourtesy, disrespect

Narrower (hyponym)billingsgate, cut, invective, low blow, scurrility, stinger, vitriol, vituperation

3. abuse (act) improper or excessive use

SamplesAlcohol abuse.
The abuse of public funds.


Broader (hypernym)employment, exercise, usage, use, utilisation, utilization

Narrower (hyponym)drug abuse, habit, substance abuse

English verb: abuse

1. abuse (social) treat badly

SamplesThis boss abuses his workers.
She is always stepping on others to get ahead.

ExamplesThey want to abuse the prisoners

Synonymsill-treat, ill-use, maltreat, mistreat, step

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)do by, handle, treat

Narrower (hyponym)kick around

2. abuse (change) change the inherent purpose or function of something

SamplesDon't abuse the system.
The director of the factory misused the funds intended for the health care of his workers.

Synonymsmisuse, pervert

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)expend, use

Narrower (hyponym)fracture, take in vain

3. abuse (communication) use foul or abusive language towards

SamplesThe actress abused the policeman who gave her a parking ticket.
The angry mother shouted at the teacher.

Synonymsblackguard, clapperclaw, shout

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)assail, assault, attack, lash out, round, snipe

Narrower (hyponym)curse, rail, revile, slang, vilify, vituperate

4. abuse (change) use wrongly or improperly or excessively

SamplesHer husband often abuses alcohol.
While she was pregnant, she abused drugs.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)expend, use

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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