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

The revelations of the Me Too movement prompted a national reckoning about the myriad ways that women are mistreated in the workplace. Rebecca Grant, Quartz at Work, "Why do employers keep providing the same ineffective sexual harassment training?," 19 June 2019 Republicans in Congress have rallied in support of Gallagher, saying he has been mistreated. CBS News, "Prosecutor removed from case of Navy SEAL charged with war crimes," 4 June 2019 The contentious relationship between artist and model goes back centuries, with men like Picasso or Schiele known for mistreating women. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "When an Erotic Photographer’s Muse Becomes His Critic," 5 May 2018 Flynn has become an important exhibit for some Trump supporters who argue the former general was mistreated by the FBI as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to undermine the president. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Michael Flynn is cooperating with Mueller and eager to have case wrap up, court hears," 11 July 2018 Police have always mistreated African-American men, but access to recordings has brought the problem more into the public eye, Brown said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "We compared Milwaukee police reports on Sterling Brown’s arrest with the video. They don’t match.," 29 May 2018 Over the past year, banks and wealth managers have gone largely unscathed as the #MeToo movement swept through Hollywood, politics, tech firms and the media, exposing powerful men for mistreating women. Simone Foxman, Bloomberg.com, "Iconiq Fires Manager Over Old Sex Charge," 20 May 2018 Dalit schoolchildren routinely complain of being mistreated in schools and colleges. NBC News, "Violence erupts in India as lowest caste protests Supreme Court order," 2 Apr. 2018 Instead, women in immigration detention are often denied adequate medical care, even when in dire need of it, are shackled around the stomach while being transported between facilities, and have been physically and psychologically mistreated. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for mistreat

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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

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More Definitions for mistreat



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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More from Merriam-Webster on mistreat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mistreat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mistreat

Spanish Central: Translation of mistreat

Nglish: Translation of mistreat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mistreat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mistreat

What made you want to look up mistreat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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