abusive [uh-byoo-siv] Word Origin adjective

  1. using, containing, or characterized by harshly or coarsely insulting language: an abusive author; abusive remarks.
  2. treating badly or injuriously; mistreating, especially physically: his abusive handling of the horse.
  3. wrongly used; corrupt: an abusive exercise of power.

Origin of abusive From the Late Latin word abūsīvus, dating back to 1575–85. See abuse, -ive Related formsa·bu·sive·ly, adverba·bu·sive·ness, nounnon·a·bu·sive, adjectivenon·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbnon·a·bu·sive·ness, nouno·ver·a·bu·sive, adjectiveo·ver·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·a·bu·sive·ness, nounun·a·bu·sive, adjectiveun·a·bu·sive·ly, adverbun·a·bu·sive·ness, noun British Dictionary definitions for unabusive abusive adjective

  1. characterized by insulting or coarse language
  2. characterized by maltreatment
  3. incorrectly used; corrupt

Derived Formsabusively, adverbabusiveness, noun Word Origin and History for unabusive abusive adj.

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.

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