Home > C Words > child abuse

child abuse

Definition of Child Abuse

(noun) The intentional emotional, negligent, physical, or sexual mistreatment of a child by an adult.

Child Abuse Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: child a·buse

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /chIE-uhld uh-byOOs/
  • British English – /chIEld uh-byOOs/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ʧaɪld əˈbjus/
  • British English – /ʧaɪld əˈbjuːs/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: child abuses
  • What constitutes child abuse changes depending on the society and culture.
  • Also called:
    • child maltreatment
    • child neglect
  • Informally called baby battering.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Clinard, Marshall Barron, and Robert Frank Meier. 2011. Sociology of Deviant Behavior. 14th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Child Abuse

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “child abuse.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 31, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/child-abuse/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

child abuse. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/child-abuse/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “child abuse.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/child-abuse/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“child abuse.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/child-abuse/>.