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 statement goes on to accuse Khalif of conspiring with the police, taking credit for other organizers’ successes and mistreating groups with women and LGBTQ leadership, among other grievances. Philly.com, "Activist Asa Khalif avoids sentence, but faces scrutiny from racial-justice groups," 19 Apr. 2018 That investigation, which the Post detailed in a series of reports last month, showed that Bransfield gave cash gifts of $350,000 to fellow clergymen, including powerful prelates and young priests he is accused of mistreating. Chico Harlan, BostonGlobe.com, "Vatican appoints new bishop to scandal-hit West Virginia diocese," 23 July 2019 Black also was repeatedly accused of mistreating employees, including firing a woman who had cancer. Kyra Haas, azcentral, "Who runs the state? Here are Arizona's top agency heads (and their salaries)," 16 July 2019 The lawsuit is the latest to accuse the county of mistreating inmates at the jail. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Woman punched, pepper-sprayed in restraint chair by Cuyahoga County Jail officers sues county," 10 July 2019 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

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

18 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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