abuse · noun /əˈbjuːs/Full view
B2 C or U bad or cruel treatment of people or animals
Dictionary examples:

sexual/psychological/mental abuse

The rescued dogs had been victims of physical abuse.

Learner example:

The one side opposes this treatment as an abuse of living creatures while the other side denies any suffering and points at the values of zoos for people. (First Certificate in English; B2; Dutch)

abuse (WRONG USE)
B2 C or U the use of a substance in an unsuitable and harmful way or for the wrong purpose
Dictionary examples:

Drug and alcohol abuse contributed to his early death.

This program tries to address problems that lead to substance abuse.

Learner example:

Get information about the [effect]s of drug abuse and make your generation a better one. (First Certificate in English; B2; Spanish)

C1 C or U an action or activity that is morally wrong or not allowed
Dictionary examples:

The mayor was suspected of corruption and other abuses.

The committee is investigating the abuse of tax-exempt status by charities.

Learner example:

It is a vast resource of information, but the abuse of it may have detrimental consequences. (Certificate in Advanced English; C1; Greek)

abuse (LANGUAGE)
C2 U rude and offensive words said to another person
Dictionary example:

He found it difficult to tolerate the verbal abuse.

Learner example:

I went all the way back cycling on the wrong side of the road, and anyone who said something about it could expect a stream of abuse. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Dutch)

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