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Abuse, subst. 1) application to a wrong or bad purpose: “things growing to themselves are growth's a.” Ven. 166. Rom. II, 3, 20. Caes. II, 1, 18.
2) ill treatment: “so him I lose through my unkind a.” Sonn. 134, 12. “rejoice at the a. of Falstaff,” Wiv. V, 3, 8. “why hast thou broken faith with me, knowing how hardly I can brook a.?” H6B V, 1, 92. “I let pass the a. done to my niece,” H6C III, 3, 188. “they 'll take no offence at our a.” IV, 1, 13.
3) deception: “this is a strange a.” Meas. V, 205. “is it some a., and no such thing?” Hml. IV, 7, 51. cf. “my strange and self-a. is the initiate fear that wants hard use,” Mcb. III, 4, 142.
4) offence, insult, injury: “to find out this a., whence 'tis derived,” Meas. V, 247. “how the villain would close now after his treasonable --s,” Meas. V, 247 “I shall drive you to confess the wilful a.” H4B II, 4, 339. H4B II, 4, 339 343 etc. “answer thy a.” H6B II, 1, 41.
5) corrupt practice or custom: “reason is the bawd to lust's a.” Ven. 792. “do nothing but use their --s in common houses,” Meas. II, 1, 43. “the poor --s of the time want countenance,” H4A I, 2, 174. “cries out upon --s,” IV, 3, 81. “the time's a.” Caes. II, 1, 115 (the present state of things contrary to law and reason).
6) offence, crime: “poor wretches have remorse in poor --s,” Lucr. 269. “this false night's --s,” Lucr. 269 Lucr. 269 Lucr. 269 Lucr. 269 “pardon my a.” H6A II, 3, 67. “give him chastisement for this a.” IV, 1, 69. “nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out --s,” Rom. III, 1, 198.
7) fault: “they that level at my --s reckon up their own,” Sonn. 121, 10. “turn their own perfection to a. to seem like him,” H4B II, 3, 27. “it is my nature's plague to spy into --s,” Oth. III, 3, 147.
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    • William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, ven
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