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 There’s a longstanding mistrust of the medical establishment among some in the black community, particularly in this part of the state. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Rural healthcare isn’t easy. Here’s how one Alabama woman bridges gaps in the Black Belt," 29 Dec. 2019 In fact, much of the outcry against thinning has its roots in the fraught history of logging in the state of California, and in a deep mistrust of the true motives for cutting down redwood trees. Becki Robins, Scientific American, "To Save the Redwoods, Scientists Debate Burning and Logging," 20 Dec. 2019 There was a basic mistrust, both ways, from the start. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Al Bianchi, Pro Basketball Coach and Knicks G.M., Dies at 87," 29 Oct. 2019 Eva says that in the black community, there is still some mistrust about donating organs, a suspicion that for African Americans the transplant business is a one-way street in the wrong direction. oregonlive, "The tragic, redemptive journey of one human heart," 5 Oct. 2019 And there are other people who will have a terrible mistrust of people who are in law enforcement. Jake Bleiberg, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ex-cop’s murder trial for shooting neighbor set to start," 22 Sep. 2019 But many in this semi-autonomous enclave believe an extradition arrangement will simply be used to round up dissidents and activists on spurious criminal charges, such is the mistrust of the mainland. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kong's Embattled Leader Appeals for Calm in the Wake of Violent Anti-Government Protests," 2 July 2019 There’s a sense of uncertainty and a general mistrust of the system. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "'People are really, really afraid': Mass-deportation threat strikes fear into Baltimore immigrants," 24 June 2019 According to the South Bend Tribune, the town hall centered around the prior calls for police reform that have gone unanswered, in addition to a growing mistrust of police in the city. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Pete Buttigieg Faces Tensions At Town Hall Following Police Shooting Death Of Black Man," 24 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Senator is running as an outsider in an era when millions of Americans mistrust elite institutions. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Bernie Sanders Makes His Charge," 7 Feb. 2020 Tsai, a 63-year-old former lawyer and academic, is mistrusted by China’s ruling Communist Party, which considers Taiwan a wayward province to be politically reunited—by force if necessary. Time, "Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen Wins Reelection With Record Support," 11 Jan. 2020 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

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

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistrust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistrust. Accessed 27 Feb. 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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