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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

Example Sentences

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
The last week of silence, off-the-record background briefings, and vague and contradictory statements from spokesmen and low-ranking officials has only served to sow confusion, mistrust, and fever-swamp conspiracy-theorizing. The Editors, National Review, 16 Feb. 2023 Partisan mistrust, a border crisis, a fresh spate of gun violence, simmering inflation and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine hung over the prime-time address, and the president had his work cut out for him in turning public opinion. Dallas News, 8 Feb. 2023 That was a mistake, which ultimately bred mistrust. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Widespread mistrust in the electoral process, largely stoked by Mr. Bolsonaro himself, has posed tough questions about the integrity of Latin America’s largest democracy, and whether Lula will be able to overcome the challenges – or exacerbate them. Ana Ionova, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Nov. 2022 The mistrust in the program extended to prospective players, who had to re-commit. Marisa Ingemi, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Aug. 2022 The differences around police-community relationships are easy to explain, Gerdts said: In the Twin Cities, anonymity breeds mistrust. Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune, 4 Apr. 2021 Others may reject it out of mistrust of the medical system. Gina Kolata, New York Times, 17 Jan. 2023 Some of that mistrust may be rooted in the 1950s and '60s, when the morning sickness drug thalidomide led to thousands of babies being born with severe birth defects. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2023
That led to mistrust toward the medical system among Black communities. Alander Rocha, al, 17 Feb. 2023 Unfortunately, the use of cast iron instead of stronger forged iron caused Parrott gun muzzles to occasionally explode, leading artillerists to mistrust the gun. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 Mar. 2022 Today, the water is deemed safe after hundreds of millions of dollars spent repairing the town's infrastructure, but residents continue to mistrust the water supply, with many refusing to drink from the tap. Shantay Robinson, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Dec. 2022 In the outer layer, there’s the main production, which is so inviting you mistrust it. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 29 Apr. 2022 Donnelley said that there are several reasons why people might mistrust this sci-fi-like application of gene therapy. Doug Johnson, Ars Technica, 5 Jan. 2023 San Franciscans have learned to mistrust even the most promising of sunny days. Holly Secon, New York Times, 27 Aug. 2022 But writers are also bound to mistrust computers because, after all, where is the computer coming from? WIRED, 2 Dec. 2022 The Fox News watchers, the big-time Fox News watchers, they have been taught to hate us and to mistrust us. Karl Vick, Time, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 23 Mar. 2023.

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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