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

transitive verb

: to treat badly : abuse
mistreatment 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 This was the case for Midge, who had been adopted by a woman who mistreated her, locking her up or withholding food. Alex Kotlowitz, The Atlantic, 3 Apr. 2024 Prominent institutions in the United States are also grappling with their histories of mistreating Indigenous people and artifacts in the pursuit of scientific research, including many violations that have only recently come to light. Leo Sands, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2024 Baron Cohen, 52, vehemently denies ever saying that, mistreating Wilson or pressuring her to go naked. Liz McNeil, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 Instead, as the Brotherhood Building has fallen into receivership, some are concerned that the tenants have been mistreated. Bill Lukitsch, Kansas City Star, 26 Mar. 2024 Social media users accused the zoo of mistreating the bear and blamed it for the earlier death of her mate Le Le, despite denials from zoo officials and Chinese panda experts. Larissa Gao, NBC News, 22 Feb. 2024 Robert De Niro won his second Academy Award for playing the central boxer as a human embodiment of stubbornness and the worst aspects of masculinity, spending the majority of the movie mistreating and abusing the people around him. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 9 Mar. 2024 In 2022, Jolie made explosive claims in court papers, alleging that a drunken Pitt mistreated her and their six children on the 2016 plane ride from France to Los Angeles, which prompted her to file for divorce. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 When Kaplan asked if members of the jury pool felt he they'd been mistreated by the court system, Trump subtly raised his hand, to laughter from the gallery. Aysha Bagchi, USA TODAY, 16 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mistreat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near mistreat

Cite this Entry

“Mistreat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistreat. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


mis·​treat (ˈ)mis-ˈtrēt How to pronounce mistreat (audio)
: to treat badly : abuse
mistreatment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on mistreat

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!