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

Despite his record on such controversies, Cruz also has used his platform to challenge foreign regimes that mistreat gays and lesbians. Dallas News, "American Airlines' campaign donations to Ted Cruz under fire from LGBT equality campaign," 16 July 2019 At the time, company executives denied there was a pattern of abuse and said employees who mistreat residents are disciplined. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Maryland Sues Notorious For-Profit Group Homes. The Company Was the Subject of ProPublica Investigation.," 12 July 2019 Here is a play in which the plot is almost translucently thin—everyone loves the wrong person, misreading signs and mistreating sign-bearers along the way. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘Twelfth Night’ Review: A Bland Transposition," 11 July 2019 Animal abuse under Colorado law includes mistreating or unnecessarily beating an animal. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "Not man's best friend? Owner bites his dog while shopping at Whole Foods in Colorado, police say," 8 July 2019 Performances by dancers playing two of Rudolf’s mistreated women generated greater force fields of interest. Lewis Segal, latimes.com, "Review: Royal Ballet comes to L.A. for the first time in years with ‘Mayerling’," 7 July 2019 Writers are taken advantage of, ignored, and mistreated. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Zedd Fires Back at Matthew Koma's Allegations Calling Him 'Toxic' and 'Self-Serving'," 10 June 2019 Owner Michael McCloskey, a veterinarian, issued a statement Wednesday expressing disappointment, disgust and shock at the footage capturing some employees mistreating the animals. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "'Disturbing' video of calves being abused prompts Casey's Foods, Jewel to remove Fairlife dairy items," 5 June 2019 The Supreme Court doesn’t want to see people mistreated like this in their final moments. Jessica Gresko, The Seattle Times, "2 death row inmates similar requests, but different results," 30 Mar. 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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Statistics for mistreat

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


something desired as essential

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