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 The real subject of the book, however, is the American psyche—what mistrust, as an individual impulse, can look like at scale. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Paranoid Style in American Entertainment," 14 May 2020 The result has only added momentum to the blowback and the growing mistrust of China in Europe and Africa, undermining China’s desired image as a generous global actor. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Global Backlash Builds Against China Over Coronavirus," 3 May 2020 With partisanship growing, mistrust in elections — and the accuracy of the vote count — is growing. John Wildermuth, SFChronicle.com, "How can California improve confidence in elections? Count the vote faster," 28 Apr. 2020 Despite survey results that show mistrust, the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project has found that the public is generally following social distancing measures recommended by experts. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Nearly one-third of Americans believe a coronavirus vaccine exists and is being withheld, survey finds," 24 Apr. 2020 How the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Detroit is a symptom of a larger systemic ailment: mistrust, mistreatment, neglect and economic inequities. Tammy Joyner, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 and Detroit: How racial inequity turned deadly in a city amid a comeback," 20 Apr. 2020 Conflicting claims from the Trump administration about the danger of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States are contributing to confusion and mistrust, and the response appears to be muddled and dashed off. Susie A. Han, STAT, "Allocate ventilators, other Covid-19 resources based on evidence, not political hunches," 17 Mar. 2020 These communities have experienced frequent, sometimes egregious, bias from the health-care system, which has engendered lasting mistrust and leads some people to forgo needed care. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "The Essential Workers Filling New York’s Coronavirus Wards," 1 May 2020 Daniel Zovatto plays Tiago Vega, one of Maria’s sons and the first Latino detective in Los Angeles — a milestone that comes with mistrust from both his Mexican family and his police brethren. Yolanda Machado, Los Angeles Times, "The real star of Showtime’s new series? L.A.'s neglected Mexican and Chicano history," 26 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Contrast that with the US, where there's not even any centralized authority managing the testing, and the citizens tend to mistrust governmental intrusions. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Pandemics: Do we need an app for that?," 3 Apr. 2020 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

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistrust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistrust. Accessed 28 May. 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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