from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To use improperly or excessively; misuse.
  • transitive verb To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
  • transitive verb To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
  • transitive verb To assail with insulting or hurtful words; revile.
  • transitive verb Obsolete To deceive or trick.
  • noun Improper or excessive use; misuse.
  • noun Rough treatment or use.
  • noun Physical maltreatment or violence.
  • noun Sexual abuse.
  • noun Insulting or hurtful language, especially when used to threaten or demoralize.
  • noun An unjust or wrongful practice.
  • idiom (abuse oneself) To masturbate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Ill use; improper treatment or employment; application to a wrong purpose; improper use or application: as, an abuse of our natural powers; an abuse of civil rights, or of religious privileges; abuse of advantages; abuse of words.
  • noun Ill treatment of a person; injury; insult; dishonor; especially, ill treatment in words; contumelious language.
  • noun A corrupt practice or custom; an offense; a crime; a fault: as, the abuses of government.
  • noun Violation; defilement: as, self-abuse. Deception.
  • noun Abuse, Invective, maltreatment, outrage; vituperation, contumely, scolding, reviling, aspersion, slander, obloquy. (See invective.) “ Abuse as compared with invective is more personal and coarse, being conveyed in harsh and unseemly terms, and dictated by angry feeling and bitter temper. Invective is more commonly aimed at character or conduct, and may be conveyed in writing and in refined language, and dictated by indignation against what is in itself blameworthy. It often, however, means public abuse under such restraints as are imposed by position and education.”
  • To use ill; misuse; put to a wrong or bad use; divert from the proper use; misapply: as, to abuse rights or privileges; to abuse words.
  • To do wrong to; act injuriously toward; injure; disgrace; dishonor.
  • To violate; ravish; defile. To attack with contumelious language; revile. To deceive; impose on; mislead.
  • Synonyms To Abuse, Misuse, misapply, misemploy, pervert, profane. Abuse and misuse are closely synonymous terms, but misuse conveys more particularly the idea of using inappropriately, abuse that of treating injuriously. In general, abuse is the stronger word.
  • To maltreat, ill-use, injure. To revile, reproach, vilify, rate, berate, vituperate, rail at.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to misuse; to put to a bad use; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert; ; to make an excessive use of.
  • transitive verb To use ill; to maltreat; to act injuriously to; to punish or to tax excessively; to hurt.
  • transitive verb To revile; to reproach coarsely; to disparage.
  • transitive verb To dishonor.
  • transitive verb To violate; to ravish.
  • transitive verb obsolete To deceive; to impose on.
  • noun Improper treatment or use; application to a wrong or bad purpose; misuse
  • noun Physical ill treatment; injury.
  • noun A corrupt practice or custom; offense; crime; fault.
  • noun Vituperative words; coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; virulent condemnation; reviling.
  • noun obsolete Violation; rape.
  • noun (Law) a wrongful using of an animal or chattel distrained, by the distrainer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
  • verb use wrongly or improperly or excessively
  • verb change the inherent purpose or function of something
  • verb use foul or abusive language towards
  • noun improper or excessive use
  • noun cruel or inhumane treatment
  • verb treat badly


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī, to misuse : ab-, away; see ab– + ūtī, to use.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English abusen, then from either Old French abus ("improper use"), or from Latin abūsus ("misused, using up"), perfect active participle of abūtor ("make improper use of, consume, abuse"), from ab ("away") + ūtor ("to use").


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  • I just nuked that abusive Basil account--sorry for the gap in the historical record I just created. What's going on here? I'm like The Hammer these days :-)

    November 5, 2008

  • See sound lantern for an explanation of what happened, John.

    November 5, 2008

  • I was going to suggest having a more prominent link to promotion somewhere, maybe on a landing page for new Wordie accounts, but since Basil clearly didn't look around much I wonder whether that would really have helped.

    November 5, 2008

  • Thanks, John--particularly on what must be a crazy day for you at work. I don't think your protection of the site's original purpose should be considered particularly heavy-handed....

    Hammer Man. ;)

    November 5, 2008

  • Hammer time! *cues music* "Can't touch this..."

    November 5, 2008

  • Are we keeping ebaysalvageyard, then? There's probably a spare pedestal next to Mi-Vox and Friday.

    November 5, 2008

  • Let's see...*muttering*...a little teapot, Japanese schoolgirl, The Hammer...

    I'm sure I've missed some. ;-)

    November 5, 2008