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 vocal lines reached back to West African tradition, though the musical trappings were modern and so was the message: women’s empowerment and steadfast protests against the many ways women have been mistreated. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "At Globalfest, Rowdy Sounds From Around the World," 13 Jan. 2020 To be able to see a pet go from scared, shut down, hurt or mistreated into their loving forever home is unlike any other feeling. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Misty and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 10 Jan. 2020 But he was fired by the school a year later after being accused of mistreating player Adam James, the son of former SMU and NFL running back (and ESPN analyst) Craig James. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Mike Leach headed to Mississippi State," 9 Jan. 2020 Other restaurant chains have also attracted scrutiny over claims that police officers were mistreated. CBS News, "Police chief apologizes for fake story about cop getting McDonald's cup inscribed with "pig"," 2 Jan. 2020 The delivery companies were on the hook for anything that went wrong, from workers complaining they were mistreated or underpaid to pedestrians and drivers hurt in crashes. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Inside Documents Show How Amazon Chose Speed Over Safety in Building Its Delivery Network," 28 Dec. 2019 There have also been cases in which foreign tourists were mistreated in parts of the country, which may have dissuaded potential travellers. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Year-end train ticket sales drop sharply in India amid nation-wide protests," 26 Dec. 2019 But Thornton’s Willie is a stand-in for every mistreated and maladjusted soul who has ever had to feign merriment just to make it through the holidays without oozing misanthropy all over the place. Tim Carman, Houston Chronicle, "The 10 greatest food scenes from holiday movies and what they really mean," 24 Dec. 2019 Those problems, Karmo told those gathered, have been exacerbated by the black community’s distrust of a medical system that has historically mistreated and experimented on black people. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "‘I belong here’: Advocate works to raise profile of black women with breast cancer," 10 Dec. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mistreat

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistreat.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistreated. Accessed 28 January 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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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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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