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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 wrong Robert Frost

intransitive verb

: to be suspicious

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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

Example Sentences

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
The petition also stated that a slow process to return results could sow mistrust and doubt in the state’s electoral process. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2022 Physicians should be responsible for overcoming health literacy barriers, time constraints, and mistrust to ensure that their patients understand all available options. S. Monica Soni, STAT, 6 Sep. 2022 Part of that mistrust stems from the fact that Talon’s minority partner, Rio Tinto, provoked outrage in 2020 by blowing up a 46,000-year-old system of Aboriginal caves in Australia in a search for iron ore. BostonGlobe.com, 30 Aug. 2022 There’s also some mistrust about the safety of biologics among Black communities, according to Dr. Robinson. Adele Jackson-gibson, SELF, 29 Aug. 2022 Providers cited concerns around government intrusion into their curriculum and mistrust that the grants would really be tax-free. Luca Powell And Derek Kravitz, Detroit Free Press, 28 Aug. 2022 Experts warn that hate crimes are often underreported for a variety of reasons, including fear of retaliation, deportation or mistrust in authorities. Grace Tooheystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2022 By delivering a level of detail that the human eye cannot detect, image benchmarking has the potential to eliminate misdiagnoses, which are major drivers of patient mistrust. Cindy Roark, Forbes, 28 June 2022 In addition, hiding KPI data from anyone within the company can lead to mistrust and a general decline in company health. Steve Taplin, Forbes, 17 Aug. 2022
Bini previously blocked Ari's phone number and led to mistrust in their relationship. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 19 Aug. 2022 But while the efforts are gaining traction, barriers to financial literacy still exist, from a lack of generational knowledge to mistrust in financial institutions and short-term thinking around money and finances. Paula Andruss, USA TODAY, 19 Aug. 2022 When a movie refuses to vary its pace, the audience subconsciously starts to mistrust the information and the exertions on the screen. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 6 Apr. 2022 That brand of asymmetry helps explain why many people mistrust CNN. Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2021 But as soon as scientific truth becomes inherently associated with one political creed, people who have conflicting political sympathies will be predisposed to mistrust it. Holly Thomas, CNN, 29 Dec. 2021 Most Americans already mistrust the press, and making journalists more dependent on government will compound the suspicion of bias. James Freeman, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2021 That experience cemented his credibility with many older voters of color, some of whom mistrust the police while also worrying about crime. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 At one end are environmentalists who deeply mistrust big utilities and think regular people have a right to generate their own power. Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistrust.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 6 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

mistrust 1 of 2


mis·​trust mis-ˈtrəst How to pronounce mistrust (audio)


2 of 2


mistrusted; mistrusting
: to lack confidence in
They mistrust your abilities.

More from Merriam-Webster on mistrust

Last Updated: 4 Oct 2022

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