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{h,2}abuse ə-byüs ( n )

1 :improper, unfair, or excessive use [⁓ of authority] [drug ⁓]

2 a :the infliction of physical or emotional injury

also :the crime of inflicting such injury see also battered child syndrome battered woman's syndrome compare cruelty neglect

b :sexual abuse

3 :a verbal attack (as on a police officer in the performance of his or her duty)

also :the crime of making such an attack

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law ©2016 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.