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 \ -​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

Among other recommendations, the report advocates the creation of a new international arbitration system to resolve complaints by U.S. companies that believe they were mistreated in China. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China’s Plan for Tech Dominance Is Advancing, Business Groups Say," 22 Jan. 2019 She was mistreated, held back from going to school, and forced to work for the family who was hosting her. Caterina Clerici & Eléonore Hamelin, Marie Claire, "Rwanda's Future Is Female," 1 Feb. 2019 Last month, Human Rights Watch reported allegations that Mozambican security forces had arbitrarily detained, mistreated and summarily executed dozens of suspected insurgents. Christopher Torchia, The Seattle Times, "Opaque insurgency grinds on in gas-rich Mozambican region," 8 Jan. 2019 In fact, a 2015 Gallup poll found that a higher percentage of African Americans felt mistreated while shopping (24 percent) or dining out (20 percent) in the previous month than did during police encounters (18 percent). Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Racial slurs and fat-shaming insults keep popping up on receipts. Is Trump worsening the trend?," 29 Oct. 2018 The Financial Times reported on allegations that Sorrell had visited a prostitute, paid the bill in petty cash, and had mistreated his assistants and sacked his chauffeur after a 12-day shift. Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "Martin Sorrell fires back at allegations in heated exchange at Cannes Lions," 22 June 2018 Gibson says her older children have been bullied and mistreated at school. Ann Doss Helms And Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "Teen has missed 77 days of school. Will threatening his parents with jail help CMS? | Charlotte Observer," 13 Apr. 2018 Arthur feels terrible about his mom’s sacrifice and the way the Atlanteans mistreated his mother, blaming her for deserting her underwater country. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman goes for broke and lands somewhere between overstuffed marine opera and cheesy comic book fun," 11 Dec. 2018 According to the federal lawsuit and the internal Department of Corrections investigation, Nygren repeatedly mistreated her employees. Jason Stein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin paid $55,000 to settle harassment case but then kept prison supervisor involved on job," 8 Jan. 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

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for mistreat

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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