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[mal-treet] /mælˈtrit/
verb (used with object)
to treat or handle badly, cruelly, or roughly; abuse:
to maltreat a prisoner.
Origin of maltreat
1700-10; earlier maltrait < French maltraiter. See mal-, treat
Related forms
maltreater, noun
maltreatment, noun
Can be confused
maltreatment, mistreatment.
mistreat, injure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for maltreat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The peoples of Europe can maltreat, but happily not judge one another.

  • It was contrary to all the homely traditions at the farm to kill or maltreat a toad.

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • Consequently my uncle looked upon me as useless, and began to maltreat me again.

    Mauprat George Sand
  • Crosby was her property, to browbeat and maltreat as seemed best to her.

    The Madigans Miriam Michelson
  • You may maltreat him when I am away, but not before my eyes.

    The Little Clay Cart (Attributed To) King Shudraka
  • It was an heroic resolution, and shame that hunger should so maltreat it.

    Aladdin of London

    Sir Max Pemberton
  • Now that men kiss the hands which maltreat them, it is the part of women to defy them.

  • If ever I see you maltreat a soldier I will report it at once to the commander of the regiment.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • He wished to govern England in law and order, and not to maltreat the natives.

    A History of England

    Charles Oman
British Dictionary definitions for maltreat


(transitive) to treat badly, cruelly, or inconsiderately
Derived Forms
maltreater, noun
maltreatment, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French maltraiter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for maltreat

1708, from French maltraiter, or formed in English from mal- + treat (v.). Related: Maltreated; maltreating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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