So, basically what I want is a word for using power in good way. Like opposite for 'abusing power'. Is there a word for that?

I wanted a good word for this sentence - 'The abuse or __ of power results in a collapsing or stable government, respectively'. I considered options like judicious. But nothing seems to properly convey the message. The concept of 'using something productively' seems very fundamental and I thought a fitting word for that would definitely be present.

  • 1
    Have you looked for antonyms of 'abuse' (not that I'm saying any would work here)? Sep 7, 2017 at 18:29
  • Hi @EdwinAshworth, I tried looking for antonyms of 'abuse'. No luck. Nothing seems to fit. Sep 8, 2017 at 4:51
  • I've voted to reopen. It's evidence of reasonable research that's required on ELU (and really successful research would answer a question anyway). Sep 8, 2017 at 9:51
  • @EdwinAshworth: (1) I’m in favor of giving people the benefit of the doubt — so much so that I’ve been chastised for it — but even I don’t see any evidence of reasonable research (or reasonable evidence of research) here. Are you simply taking the OP at his word when he says “I tried looking … No luck.”? Have the standards here been lowered? — I didn’t see an announcement.  (2) If your ears are burning, it may be because I mentioned you. Sep 8, 2017 at 22:42
  • @Scott I got the same results as OP when I looked for antonyms of 'abuse'. Have you any reasonable suggestions of what else to look up? Sep 8, 2017 at 22:54

3 Answers 3


The verb utilize according to Oxford Living Dictionary means

Make practical and effective use of

If we can take “practical and effective as equating to “in a good way,” this might be as close as you get.


Would benevolent be what you're looking for?

Or more along the lines of efficient or productive?

  • If we can alter the form of the sentence, 'using power in a good way' will work. OP is asking for a (single word) antonym of abuse. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:39
  • I think that benevolent (from the Latin well-wishing) would be OK if in context - a "benevolent god" or "benevolent ruler", for example. It doesn't inherently mean powerful, but has connotations of 'in a good way' and is frequently used to describe powerful individuals. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:48
  • @K.Price:  You’re missing the point.  The question is (appears to be) asking for a verb, and you’re answering with adjectives. Sep 7, 2017 at 19:16
  • Ah, apologies @Scott. I'll keep thinking. Sep 7, 2017 at 21:47

There are many ways to do this with an adverb. Helpful, beneficial, efficient, appropriate, etc., all having their subtle contextual differences.

But the literal antonym is "disabuse."

I tried playing with the verb, "to use," and other prefixes, but nothing sounds right (in fact, most sound awful — "beneuse" or "benuse" ... ack!).

  • Disabuse doesn't mean what you say it means. My dictionary (NOAD?) has a clearer definition: persuade (someone) that an idea or belief is mistaken.
    – Laurel
    Sep 7, 2017 at 19:18

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