Definition of maltreat in English:



  • Treat (a person or animal) cruelly or with violence.

    ‘children die from neglect or are maltreated by their carers’
    • ‘The general belief is that parents who maltreat their children are rare, pathological and certainly not like us.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the fate of the abandoned, aborted, murdered, or maltreated girls is barely seen as a problem’
    • ‘He maltreated her and constantly ran off with Shug Avery, while married to her.’
    • ‘Lower income, the increased stress associated with the sole burden of family responsibilities, and fewer supports are thought to contribute to the risk of single parents maltreating their children.’
    • ‘Parents who maltreat their children are more likely to show such biases.’
    • ‘No parents or other adults should exploit, abuse or maltreat children.’
    • ‘They had a nice four-room flat in Naupada, but soon after my first daughter was born they started maltreating me.’
    • ‘She was maltreated by her husband's family for failing to extract more money from her parents.’
    • ‘He detailed the slow diminishment of his vitality as he is maltreated by people he encounters.’
    • ‘Hence, for example, he is shocked if the police maltreat a criminal in order to secure a conviction.’
    • ‘Whoever physically maltreats or harms the health of another person, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.’
    • ‘In order to carry through deportations and break the resistance of refugees, officers often maltreat people by tying them up and gagging them, or sedating them with drugs against their will.’
    • ‘As part of his pre-trial agreement, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to maltreat detainees, two counts of maltreatment of detainees and one count of dereliction of duty.’
    • ‘There was a link between parents who maltreated their children and those in physically abusive relationships with their partners.’
    • ‘After being promised the joys of French life, she is kept inside the house, relegated to menial tasks and misunderstood and maltreated by the mother.’
    • ‘He renews his association with Catherine, to the dismay of her effete husband Edgar, but then elopes with Isabella, whom he maltreats.’
    • ‘Non-governmental organization workers were also maltreated by the demonstrators.’
    • ‘According to a 2002 government report, ‘The vast majority of children were maltreated by one parent, usually the mother.’’
    • ‘The strike action was in response to workers' claims that the company management had maltreated two workers.’
    • ‘This particular prototype can be described as an aggressive and sadistic femme fatale who physically maltreats her male subordinates.’
    ill-treat, mistreat, abuse, ill-use, misuse, treat badly
    handle roughly, treat roughly, knock about, knock around, hit, beat, strike, mishandle, manhandle, maul
    bully, torture, injure, harm, hurt, persecute, molest
    beat up, rough up, do over
    View synonyms


Early 18th century: from French maltraiter.