Definition of abusive in English:



  • 1Extremely offensive and insulting.

    ‘the goalkeeper was sent off for using abusive language’
    ‘he became quite abusive and swore at her’
    • ‘Their antics included shouting, abusive language and touching the bottom of a young air hostess, Newcastle Crown Court heard.’
    • ‘They say they have to put up with increased noise, foul and abusive language and a complete loss of privacy since the work was completed earlier this year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Residents complained the young people were using foul language, being abusive and playing ball games in the street into the early hours of the morning.’
    • ‘The order prevents him from harming or threatening anyone in the Mirfield area, using abusive or racist language or taking cars without consent.’
    • ‘He could also be prosecuted for behaving anti-socially or using insulting or abusive, including homophobic, language.’
    • ‘She breached the order three times by swearing, screaming and using abusive language after a road accident.’
    • ‘He further pleaded to using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour and with being intoxicated on the same date.’
    • ‘The other victim came out and both girls shouted at them using extremely abusive language.’
    • ‘Violence, offensive sexual gestures or behaviour, or threatening or abusive language could get patients barred.’
    • ‘When you start to get abusive and insulting you have already lost the argument.’
    • ‘Magistrates heard he was extremely abusive to the police and was warned.’
    • ‘He must also attend school and not use abusive, threatening, insulting or offensive language in public.’
    • ‘When chased by the teachers they just run through residents' gardens and if the residents complain they get the same foul and abusive language.’
    • ‘It is therefore of concern he admits to consuming a large amount of alcohol and to being extremely abusive to probation staff on release.’
    • ‘He also swore and used abusive language to the manager of Cullompton town hall market on the same day.’
    • ‘It should be borne in mind that words or behaviour may be annoying or rude without being necessarily abusive or insulting.’
    • ‘Nobody who sees this film can point a finger at me for portraying violence, abusive language, or offensive scenes.’
    • ‘He was abusive and insulting to a policeman and as he was placed in a police vehicle, he kicked one officer in the chest.’
    insulting, rude, vulgar, offensive, disparaging, belittling, derogatory, disrespectful, denigratory, uncomplimentary, pejorative, vituperative
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  • 2Engaging in or characterized by habitual violence and cruelty.

    ‘abusive parents’
    ‘an abusive relationship’
    • ‘She struggled through divorce, life as a single parent, abusive relationships and another rocky marriage.’
    • ‘Women's Aid did not know why more women in violent and abusive relationships were seeking their help.’
    • ‘A victim's decision to remain in an abusive relationship may be positively reinforced in several ways.’
    • ‘Her e-mails revealed that she's been in an emotionally abusive relationship for about a year.’
    • ‘If you are abused as a child this definitely doesn't mean that you are going to end up in a violent or abusive relationship yourself.’
    • ‘I think there is a similarity to the attitude of many abused children who blame themselves for the abusive actions of their parents.’
    • ‘When partners become abusive, violence becomes regular; sometimes family members kill each other.’
    • ‘Leaving an abusive relationship may be punished in a number of ways.’
    • ‘‘The song is about women putting up with abusive relationships and not being able to leave,’ he says.’
    • ‘The refuge provides a haven for people fleeing violent or abusive relationships.’
    • ‘The gratuitous gossip included claims of domestic violence, adultery and abusive relationships.’
    • ‘There is strong evidence for a link between abusive behaviour and violence in the family of origin.’
    • ‘I was in a particularly nasty marriage, a violent and abusive relationship that started the day after the wedding.’
    • ‘For decades the prevailing theories tell us that the roots of violence lie in deprived environments and abusive parents.’
    • ‘Not that he was abusive, unkind or violent, he just expected more of her than she often felt she had to give.’
    • ‘Those who attended including women who had been in abusive relationships and sought help through the Women Awake meetings.’
    • ‘One of the main drives behind this campaign is to get proper services in place for women who want to escape from abusive relationships.’
    • ‘How do I know if I am in an unhealthy, abusive, or even violent relationship?’
    • ‘When women pluck up the courage to leave a violent or abusive relationship, they often find their abuser turns to the law, Tagg explained.’
    • ‘A friend of mine was a domestic violence crisis line counselor and wound up in an abusive relationship.’
    cruel, brutal, savage, inhuman, barbaric, barbarous, brutish, vicious, sadistic
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  • 3Involving injustice or illegality.

    ‘the abusive and predatory practices of businesses’
    • ‘In fact, the NRA lent support to some of the most abusive criminal justice practices in effect today.’
    • ‘Society increasingly perceives individuals to be passive victims of abusive and predatory corporations.’
    • ‘Essentially, the challenge is to catch abusive practices without catching harmless practices, to boot.’
    • ‘Democracy will struggle to take root if abusive police practices and corrupt judges flourish.’
    • ‘If anything, the police were trying to cover up their own abusive practices.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The latest move to establish regional offices has created fears of a possible return to repressive and abusive practices.’
    • ‘When pickers went out on strike, abusive practices of foremen were usually a main source of complaint.’
    • ‘Not that the oppressive, undemocratic, abusive and illegal proposals are to be binned.’
    • ‘It was 1875 when the child labour laws cracked down on this abusive practice.’
    • ‘United Brands produced bananas, and was accused of a variety of abusive practices which were said to infringe Article 86.’