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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 wrongRobert Frost

intransitive verb

: to be suspicious
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
Recent Examples on the Web
History: The roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and mistrust are deep and complex, predating the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2024 Left and right are disillusioned, angry and skeptical over whether the trial’s verdict will produce either justice or clarity at a time when mistrust of government is high and disinformation is insidious. Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2024 So, for a character, there’s always a kind of hesitation, some kind of mistrust toward what’s in front of you. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 10 Apr. 2024 The Culp Success Story When Culp took over, the company was in a precarious financial position owing to excessive debt, ineffective management, and investor mistrust. Jim Osman, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Such policies can turn patients off and create mistrust in the system. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 17 Mar. 2024 But the news was immediately met with skepticism, and mistrust in the palace only grew during the past two weeks after the release of some dubious photos of Kate. Sydney Lake, Fortune, 16 Mar. 2024 For people in the business of opposing vaccination or unwelcome election results, mistrust of big financial institutions and tech companies is common. Lisa Hagen, NPR, 1 Apr. 2024 That’s partly because historical tensions and mistrust are pervasive: as one example, China still occasionally claims territory Russia considers its own. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 29 Mar. 2024
Lima agreed that passengers mistrusting airlines is a big part of why so many passengers rely solely on carry-ons on their trips. Zach Wichter, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2024 But news organizations have now started to mistrust the information fed to them by the palace. Sydney Lake, Fortune, 16 Mar. 2024 She will be instructed to ingest strange tinctures and coached to mistrust her own mind. Amanda Hess, New York Times, 29 Feb. 2024 Journalistic defenders can be trusted to attack and shame anyone who mistrusts the official story. Rich Lowry, National Review, 13 Feb. 2024 But the closing minute of the Investigation Discovery show revealed that Antwon and Cynthia Mans were also growing to mistrust Natalia. Clare Fisher, Peoplemag, 4 Jan. 2024 Given that, the gut response here would be to mistrust the current work. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 8 Mar. 2023 Both add a layer of security to a process in which buyers often mistrust sellers. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 Jan. 2024 Expertise, alone, is insufficient when people mistrust the experts' motives. Amy Maxmen, CBS News, 18 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mistrust.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
mis·​trust (ˈ)mis-ˈtrəst How to pronounce mistrust (audio)
mistrustful adjective
mistrustfully adverb
mistrustfulness noun


2 of 2 verb

More from Merriam-Webster on mistrust

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