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

Definition of mistrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a lack of confidence : distrust


mistrusted; mistrusting; mistrusts

Definition of mistrust (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to be suspicious

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Other Words from mistrust


mistrustful \ ˌmis-​ˈtrəst-​fəl How to pronounce mistrustful (audio) \ adjective
mistrustfully \ ˌmis-​ˈtrəst-​fə-​lē How to pronounce mistrustfully (audio) \ adverb
mistrustfulness noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun They were eventually rescued, but the incident created mistrust between Greenlanders and Americans. Katie Lockhart, Smithsonian Magazine, "How This Abandoned Mining Town in Greenland Helped Win World War II," 28 Dec. 2019 In the past, conspiratorial thinking has seemed to compound this mistrust. Joshua Pease, Popular Mechanics, "How You've Been Conditioned to Love Conspiracy Theories," 17 Dec. 2019 But the renaissance has done little for some residents who live in persistent poverty and harbor lingering mistrust after decades of racial upheaval. Detroit Free Press, "Analysis: Detroit will be toughest US city to count population for 2020 Census," 12 Dec. 2019 But the renaissance has done little for some residents who live in persistent poverty and harbor lingering mistrust after decades of racial upheaval. Corey Williams, chicagotribune.com, "Vacant houses, sparse internet and high poverty: Detroit tops list of hard-to-count cities ahead of census," 12 Dec. 2019 Instead, what has become clear in Hong Kong is that a lack of democracy is a grave liability, sowing dissatisfaction and mistrust. The Economist, "Asian tigersAfter half a century of success, the Asian tigers must reinvent themselves," 5 Dec. 2019 In Polk County, mistrust between foster parents and certain child welfare workers had been brewing since at least 2017, DHS found during its spring 2019 investigation of Daeschner. oregonlive, "Foster care supervisor who drew criticism, lawsuits continues long career at DHS after internal investigation," 30 Nov. 2019 The move has garnered negative reactions and mistrust from some individuals and organizations concerned about the role of digital platforms—especially one like Facebook. Christian Catalini, Quartz, "The best thing about Libra is often overlooked—and its creators explain why," 18 Oct. 2019 In the case of Poland, in fact, a nationalist government will almost always win first place if the continent is handing out prizes for resistance and mistrust of Russia. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Isn’t Macron an Illiberal Pinup?," 26 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Players such as Kawhi Leonard viewed Thomas’s injury as a lesson to take their careers and health into their own hands, leading to mistrust between players and certain teams and executives. BostonGlobe.com, "Isaiah Thomas trying to make the most of what may be his final chance - The Boston Globe," 14 Nov. 2019 His foes mistrust him in part because of his background. The Economist, "Power shifts in Uruguay, without much fuss," 29 Nov. 2019 Their own funding under strain, these lenders have started mistrusting borrowers that not long ago were ranked among the bluest of chips. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "The Sun Stops Shining for Indian Property Mogul," 21 Nov. 2019 Such decentralization is important to the many crypto enthusiasts who mistrust government and the traditional banking system, and is a hallmark of projects like Bitcoin. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Exclusive: Compound Raises $25 Million to Expand Crypto Lending," 14 Nov. 2019 Americans mistrust companies to such an extent that the very idea of capitalism is now being debated on the political stage. Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times, "How Shareholder Democracy Failed the People," 20 Aug. 2019 Surveys have found that they are deeply mistrusted by the public, often seen as doing the political bidding of whoever is in power. BostonGlobe.com, "Crusading reformer divides South Koreans - The Boston Globe," 13 Oct. 2019 Many in the party doubt that anyone can beat Johnson, a quick-witted, Latin-spouting extrovert admired for his ability to connect with voters, but mistrusted for his erratic performance, and record of inaccurate and sometimes offensive comments. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, "UK Prime Minister race down to the final four, and Boris Johnson is the standout leader," 19 June 2019 Heller, a moderate, is mistrusted by the states’ hardline Trump supporters and has a fraught relationship with the president. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Dean Heller, survivalist," 19 Sep. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of mistrust


14th century, in the meaning defined above


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

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Time Traveler for mistrust

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mistrust

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistrust.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistrust. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for mistrust


How to pronounce mistrust (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mistrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: lack of trust or confidence : a feeling that someone is not honest and cannot be trusted



English Language Learners Definition of mistrust (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have no trust or confidence in (someone or something)


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

Kids Definition of mistrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)


mistrusted; mistrusting

Kids Definition of mistrust (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : to lack confidence in They mistrust your abilities.

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Comments on mistrust

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