People or actions that are hurtful or harmful are abusive. Being abusive is one of the worst things a parent — or anyone else — can do.

Abusive is a strong word for serious actions. A parent asking you to take out the garbage is not being abusive, but a parent who hits you, locks you up, or yells at you repeatedly is being abusive, which is wrong and also illegal. Teachers can be abusive too, and so can bosses, co-workers, or other students. Anyone who has power has a lot of potential to be abusive in a physical or psychological (mental) way. One of the most important parts of being a parent, teacher, boss — or anyone else — is making sure you don't do anything abusive. When you hear the word abusive, think "Someone is being hurt."

Definitions of abusive
  1. adjective
    characterized by physical or psychological maltreatment
    abusive punishment”
    “argued...that foster homes are abusive
    causing or capable of causing harm
  2. adjective
    expressing offensive reproach
    synonyms: opprobrious, scurrilous
    causing anger or annoyance
Word Family