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mis·​trust ˌmis-ˈtrəst How to pronounce mistrust (audio)
: a lack of confidence : distrust
mistrustful adjective
mistrustfully adverb
mistrustfulness noun


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mistrusted; mistrusting; mistrusts

transitive verb

: to have no trust or confidence in : suspect
mistrusted his neighbors
: to doubt the truth, validity, or effectiveness of
mistrusted his own judgment
: surmise
your mind mistrusted there was something wrongRobert Frost

intransitive verb

: to be suspicious
Choose the Right Synonym for mistrust

uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust mean lack of sureness about someone or something.

uncertainty may range from a falling short of certainty to an almost complete lack of conviction or knowledge especially about an outcome or result.

assumed the role of manager without hesitation or uncertainty

doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision.

plagued by doubts as to what to do

dubiety stresses a wavering between conclusions.

felt some dubiety about its practicality

skepticism implies unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence.

an economic forecast greeted with skepticism

suspicion stresses lack of faith in the truth, reality, fairness, or reliability of something or someone.

regarded the stranger with suspicion

mistrust implies a genuine doubt based upon suspicion.

had a great mistrust of doctors

Examples of mistrust in a Sentence

Noun She has a strong mistrust of politicians. had an unfortunate mistrust of doctors, so her medical condition was allowed to worsen Verb I was starting to mistrust my own judgment. a recluse who mistrusts her neighbors and stays in her house all day
Recent Examples on the Web
Internally, the campaign was plagued by miscommunications, missed opportunities and mistrust. Maya King, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Farrell said that feelings of mistrust in federal government regulations and vaccine mandates are not uncommon among Black and brown patients. Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, 12 Oct. 2023 Mistrust of Covid treatments originated in the mistrust of older vaccines. WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 And clearly this doesn't solve the deep mistrust between these countries. ABC News, 19 Nov. 2023 This only serves to deepen mistrust, making the population more wary of state actions. FROM WAR TO PEACE Great complexity and risk come with any attempt to pursue transitional justice in Ethiopia. Patrick Vinck, Foreign Affairs, 15 Nov. 2023 Mark Penley, who served as the deputy attorney general for criminal justice under Paxton for one year, said in testimony that the attorney general’s mistrust came from his own experiences. Aarón Torres, Dallas News, 11 Sep. 2023 McKinley-Beach also wants the U.S. government to expand the message that anyone can get HIV, encourage drug companies to advertise more on TV to women of color, and fund outreach to dispel medical mistrust in communities of color. Michael Scaturro | Kff Health News, ABC News, 7 Nov. 2023 ProPublica’s story described how the delay in approving an independent review contributed to an atmosphere of mistrust among parents and community members. Anna Clark, ProPublica, 31 Oct. 2023
The unfair treatment could have negative health consequences, cause additional stress to patients and lead them to mistrust the health care system to the point of forgoing necessary treatments, Gonzalez said. Justin Gamble, CNN, 3 Aug. 2023 But the note was also an effort to win Jones support from a Slack workforce that had the potential to mistrust its new outsider CEO. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 1 June 2023 Its tendency was to trust markets and to mistrust regulation. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, 15 May 2023 Accusations abound, misinformation is propagated, mistrust is abundant, and institutions and leaders are being called to account. David Rosowsky, Forbes, 4 May 2023 Such a haphazard approach not only leads to mistrust inside communities, experts say, but wastes an opportunity to extract lessons that may prevent the next tragedy. Anna Clark, ProPublica, 14 May 2023 Biden’s role in negotiating a final deal that year with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has long been a reason for progressive activists to mistrust him. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2023 The world of higher education is often a mystery to those outside its walls, often misunderstood, increasingly mistrusted, and even maligned. David Rosowsky, Forbes, 1 Apr. 2023 While Democratic officials essentially expressed the same level of confidence in elections in their own communities and Michigan, Republican officials were significantly more likely to mistrust Michigan elections conducted outside their own jurisdiction. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 19 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mistrust.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mistrust was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near mistrust

Cite this Entry

“Mistrust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistrust. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
mis·​trust (ˈ)mis-ˈtrəst How to pronounce mistrust (audio)
mistrustful adjective
mistrustfully adverb
mistrustfulness noun


2 of 2 verb

More from Merriam-Webster on mistrust

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