- using, containing, or characterized by harshly or coarsely insulting language: an abusive author; abusive remarks.
- treating badly or injuriously; mistreating, especially physically: his abusive handling of the horse.
- wrongly used; corrupt: an abusive exercise of power.
- characterized by insulting or coarse language
- characterized by maltreatment
- incorrectly used; corrupt
1530s (implied in abusively), originally “improper,” from Middle French abusif, from Latin abusivus, from abus-, past participle stem of abuti (see abuse (v.)). Meaning “full of abuse” is from 1580s. Abuseful was used 17c., and Shakespeare has abusious (“Taming of the Shrew,” 1594). Related: Abusiveness.