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[n. mis-yoos; v. mis-yooz] /n. mɪsˈyus; v. mɪsˈyuz/
wrong or improper use; misapplication.
Obsolete. bad or abusive treatment.
verb (used with object), misused, misusing.
to use wrongly or improperly; misapply.
to treat badly or abusively; maltreat.
Origin of misuse
1350-1400; Middle English; see mis-1, use
1. misemployment, misappropriation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for misuse
  • Scientists say climate change, misuse of water, and desertification are all contributing to its decline.
  • We shouldn't blame faith for the ways people distort it and misuse it.
  • We use data encryption technology to help protect against loss, misuse or alteration of your credit card information.
  • If you make a complex argument, there will be people out there who will simplify and misuse it.
  • But the biggest culprit is the extravagant misuse of water by rapidly expanding farms, factories, and cities.
  • Evidently, years of misuse and overuse had made the land unproductive.
  • Further misuse of site features may result in a temporary block or your account being permanently disabled.
  • The charges against them only related to the truthfulness of their writing, not their misuse of money meant for charity.
  • For a story about the cruel misuse of apes, the irony and hypocrisy of the former was too unbearable.
  • Microwaves will not work, but this project is probably still an enormous misuse of taxpayer money.
British Dictionary definitions for misuse


noun (ˌmɪsˈjuːs)
erroneous, improper, or unorthodox use: misuse of words
cruel or inhumane treatment
verb (transitive) (ˌmɪsˈjuːz)
to use wrongly
to treat badly or harshly
to use (something, esp alcohol, drugs, etc) improperly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for misuse

late 14c., "to use improperly;" see mis- (1) + use (v.). Meaning "to subject to ill-treatment" is attested from 1530s. Related: Misused; misusing.


late 14c., from mis- (1) + use (n.). It aligns with the older sense of the verb misuse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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