Definition of abusive in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈbjuːsɪv/


1Extremely offensive and insulting: the goalkeeper was sent off for using abusive language he became quite abusive and swore at her
More example sentences
  • Mrs Walsh said the four men arrested for abusive language hurled insults at the police outside the pub after staff helped officers to clear the bar.
  • Individuals should not be allowed to run amok insulting and using abusive language against one another.
  • The other victim came out and both girls shouted at them using extremely abusive language.
insulting, rude, vulgar, offensive, disparaging, belittling, derogatory, disrespectful, denigratory, uncomplimentary, pejorative, vituperative;
disdainful, derisive, scornful, contemptuous;
defamatory, slanderous, libellous, scurrilous, blasphemous;
scolding, castigatory, reproving, reproachful
informal bitchy
archaic contumelious
2Engaging in or characterized by habitual violence and cruelty: abusive parents an abusive relationship
More example sentences
  • The gratuitous gossip included claims of domestic violence, adultery and abusive relationships.
  • She struggled through divorce, life as a single parent, abusive relationships and another rocky marriage.
  • I was in a particularly nasty marriage, a violent and abusive relationship that started the day after the wedding.
cruel, brutal, savage, inhuman, barbaric, barbarous, brutish, vicious, sadistic;
ruthless, merciless, pitiless, remorseless, uncaring, heartless, cold-blooded, cold-hearted, unfeeling, unkind, inhumane
3Involving injustice or illegality: the abusive and predatory practices of businesses
More example sentences
  • Society increasingly perceives individuals to be passive victims of abusive and predatory corporations.
  • What they are not willing to do, however, is take part in what they view as an illegal and abusive occupation.
  • The previous day, an Athens court ruled that the strike was illegal and abusive.



Pronunciation: /əˈbjuːsɪvli/
Example sentences
  • The pace is frenetic: women's heels click the sidewalks with conviction, mobile phones are spoken into earnestly, and cars honk their horns abusively.
  • Scilla begins by explaining that she wants to know how to be powerful in a way which enables her to respond effectively when she sees power being abused, and yet not use her own power abusively.
  • And many of them were treated horribly and abusively.


Pronunciation: /əˈbjuːsɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • Due to his unruly behaviour, which included rudeness and abusiveness, the management was forced to ban him from using these facilities.
  • The students took their charge seriously, suggesting rules such as: ‘No violence or abusiveness - either physical or verbal’ and ‘Come to class on time and prepared.’
  • I've had a policy of not editing comments of others, regardless of abusiveness.

Words that rhyme with abusive

allusive, collusive, conclusive, conducive, delusive, diffusive, effusive, elusive, exclusive, illusive, inclusive, intrusive, obtrusive, preclusive, reclusive, seclusive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: abu|sive

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