A Dictionary of the English Language
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Abuse (verb)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 65, 66

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 65, 66

To Abu'se. v.a. [abutor, Lat.]

In abuse the verb, s has the sound of z; in the noun, the common sound.

  1. To make an ill use of.

    They that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away. 1. Cor. vii. 31.

    He has fixed and determined the time for our repentance, beyond which he will no longer await the perverseness of men, no longer suffer his compassion to be abused. Roger's Sermons.

  2. To deceive, to impose upon.

    The world hath been much abused by the opinion of making gold: the work itself I judge to be possible; but the means hitherto propounded, are, in the practice, full of error. Bacon's Natural History, № 126.

                  He perhaps,
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me.
    Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    It imports the misrepresentation of the qualities of things and actions, to the common apprehensions of men, abusing their mind with false notions; and so, by this artifice, making evil pass for good, and good for evil, in all the great concerns of life. South's Sermons.

    Nor be with all these tempting words abus'd;
    These tempting words were all to Sappho us'd.
    Pope's Sappho to Phaon.

  3. To treat with rudeness, to reproach.

    I am no strumpet, but of life as honest
    As you that thus abuse me.
    Shakespeare's Othello.

    But he mocked them, and laughed at them, and abused them shamefully, and spake proudly. 1 Mac. vii. 34.

    Some praise at morning what they blame at night,
    But always think the last opinion right.
    A muse by these is like a mistress us'd.
    This hour she's idoliz'd, the next abus'd.
    Pope's Ess. on Crit.

    The next criticism upon the stars seems to be introduced for no other reason, but to mention Mr. Bickerstaff, whom the author every-where endeavours to imitate and abuse. Addison.

Sources: The Bible - 1. Corinthians (15) · The Bible - 1. Maccabees (8) · The Bible - 2. Maccabees (14) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Shakespeare's Othello (60) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Rogers, John (38) · South, Robert (158)

Attributes: Latin (690) · Verb Active (289)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Abuse (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 30, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=1210.


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