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 mistrust (audio) \ adjective
mistrustfully \ ˌmis-​ˈtrəst-​fə-​lē How to pronounce mistrust (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 But in the seven years since California launched the Western EIM, that mistrust has started to fade. Los Angeles Times, "California just hit 95% renewable energy. Will other states come along for the ride?," 29 Apr. 2021 That mistrust ran through the debate over the trade deal, called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. BostonGlobe.com, "Brexit trade deal gets a final OK from EU parliament," 28 Apr. 2021 That mistrust ran through the debate over the trade deal, called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. New York Times, "Brexit Trade Deal Gets a Final OK From E.U. Parliament," 28 Apr. 2021 But Kirton, a town councilor and Mayor Suzette DeBeatham Brown, both Black, are making a public effort to convince residents in the 60% Black community to overcome that mistrust and get vaccinated. Steven Goode, courant.com, "Bloomfield officials urging Black residents to get vaccinated," 10 Apr. 2021 To be sure, mistrust is unlikely to end overnight, but a federal government and army could begin with a few key players and build from there, says Mr. Tower of the U.S. Institute of Peace. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "As Myanmar protests continue, a glimmer of greater unity," 9 Apr. 2021 To address this mistrust will require a paradigm shift, said Warren of Tuskegee University. Tribune News Service, al, "Stop blaming Tuskegee, critics say. It’s not an ‘excuse’ for current medical racism," 28 Mar. 2021 Fortunately, activists have some ideas for how to combat this mistrust. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "The Struggle to Vaccinate People in Jails and Prisons," 17 Mar. 2021 And in the last few months, people of color have been vaccinated at far lower rates than White Americans in part due to this mistrust and a lack of access, experts have said. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "These men and women got the Covid-19 vaccine despite some hesitancy in their communities," 5 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The belief systems that underpin the groups have similarities — both mistrust the Japanese government and support Trump. Emiko Jozuka, Selina Wang And Junko Ogura, CNN, "Japan's QAnon disciples aren't letting Trump's loss quash their mission," 23 Apr. 2021 Further, there’s no concrete evidence of any reason to mistrust the state court proceedings or that Schmidt is prosecuting people based on their viewpoints, the judge wrote. oregonlive, "Federal judge refuses to intervene in riot case against Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, supporter," 27 Feb. 2021 Raya tries to bring together different groups of people, who have every reason to resent and mistrust each other, and encourages them to work together for the common good — and to fight a plague that threatens to destroy them all. NBC News, "How 'Raya and the Last Dragon' built a Southeast Asian fantasy world," 3 Mar. 2021 As diverse stakeholder boundaries now are expanding exponentially, to thrive it’s imperative to create and strengthen relationships even among those who may initially mistrust each other, or simply have never worked together. Nadine Hack, Forbes, "Engagement Leadership: Strategies For A Connected World," 26 Feb. 2021 There are varied reasons for vaccine hesitancy, which is a global problem, ranging from concerns about how quickly the vaccines were created to politicization of the process to mistrust in the scientific and medical establishment. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "It Will Save Your Life and End This Damn Pandemic," 26 Feb. 2021 There are also some who mistrust either the government or those who developed the shot. Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, CBS News, "Many would get COVID-19 vaccine, but hesitancy remains — CBS News poll," 26 Feb. 2021 In an echo of 1969, some students mistrust the university’s intentions. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, "'People's Park is for the people': UC Berkeley plan for housing stirs old and new tensions," 16 Feb. 2021 People most mistrust the Chinese vaccine, which Bolsonaro supporters have attacked with racist and xenophobic language. Washington Post, "Should a coronavirus vaccine be mandatory? In Brazil’s most populous state, it will be.," 6 Dec. 2020

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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mistrust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistrust. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mistrust



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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