mis·​treat | \ ˌmis-ˈtrēt How to pronounce mistreat (audio) \
mistreated; mistreating; mistreats

Definition of mistreat

transitive verb

: to treat badly : abuse

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Other Words from mistreat

mistreatment \ ˌmis-​ˈtrēt-​mənt How to pronounce mistreatment (audio) \ noun

Examples of mistreat in a Sentence

They accuse him of mistreating his wife. She claimed she had been mistreated by the police.
Recent Examples on the Web In the Monmouth poll and in another released this week by CBS News, exactly 57 percent of Americans said police officers were generally more likely to treat black people unfairly than to mistreat white people. Giovanni Russonello, BostonGlobe.com, "Why most Americans support the protests," 5 June 2020 The mayor of Virginia's capital city sought to make amends after at least two reporters said they were mistreated by police while covering a protest Sunday night. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Richmond mayor condemns treatment of the press after police 'knowingly attacked' reporters," 1 June 2020 The effort has made Flynn a cause célèbre for conservative politicians and media figures who believe he was mistreated. Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, "Flynn fights for exoneration two years after pleading guilty," 30 Apr. 2020 These measures paid no regard to whether people had recently travelled out of China, or how they would be mistreated by landlords, hotel managers and shopkeepers. Hangwei Li, Quartz Africa, "The mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou is a big threat to China’s coronavirus diplomacy," 21 Apr. 2020 However, the complaint alleges he was mistreated after being assigned to a new supervisor. The Columbian, oregonlive, "Former PeaceHealth employee alleges months of racial discrimination in lawsuit," 13 Apr. 2020 When asked about the #MeToo movement, Vanessa said she's been mistreated and has learned how to stand up for herself. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Vanessa Hudgens Said Her Nude Photo Leak Was "Traumatizing"," 3 Jan. 2020 Wood during his time in Detroit and declined to share any specific incidents of how he felt mistreated by the organization. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Detroit Lions WR Jace Billingsley: 'I don't agree with ... the way' Lions treat players," 3 Dec. 2019 There were other children living in the house, but there were no signs they had been mistreated, Corbin said. Fox News, "Ohio police arrest woman after teacher's tip leads investigators to malnourished child," 16 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistreat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mistreat

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for mistreat

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The first known use of mistreat was in the 15th century

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Statistics for mistreat

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistreat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistreat. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mistreat


How to pronounce mistreat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mistreat

: to treat (someone or something) badly


mis·​treat | \ mis-ˈtrēt How to pronounce mistreat (audio) \
mistreated; mistreating

Kids Definition of mistreat

: to handle, use, or act toward in a harsh way : abuse

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