To my surprise my spelling checker flagged the word "untrusted". I tried looking the adjective up in Meriam-Webster. Meriam-Webster however doesn't show any results.

Are there any synonyms of "untrusted" that I should use? "Uncertain" is one, or "doubtful" possibly; but I would hate to perform any actions over a "uncertain" network instead of an "untrusted" network:

Example sentence: "The administrator had did not want to perform the security sensitive operations over the untrusted network connection."

So are there any alternatives to "untrusted" that capture the meaning well in typical IT / security related settings? Or should I keep using "untrusted" in the hope that it will make it into the dictionary at some point in the future?

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    Can you please edit your question to include a sample sentence? Context is everything. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:52
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    Within the realm of IT, "untrusted" is an established word (meaning "Not yet established as trustworthy"), whatever the dictionary says (or doesn't say). Just use that. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:53
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    You could possibly use 'unsecure' as an alternative, but 'untrusted' works fine for me - it's in common use.
    – Lee Leon
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 9:01
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    In this case, I'd assess that the Wiktionary endorsement may be trusted. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 9:17
  • @LeeLeon There is a Q/A about unsecure (or rather, insecure) here. Insecure only has a slightly different meaning so I agree that it may cover most of the cases. Trust is something that is approached from the observer, not the actor, but usually when we use "untrusted" that's not directly implied. Ok, "insecure" and "unsecured" could work. Good one, thanks, feel free to answer! Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


As a security professional I use "untrusted" all the time (for example, search for "untrusted certificate"). The Oxford English Dictionary cites it since 1552 so it is a proper word.

In some situations "dubious" could be used to provide some variety. The word "untrusted" will however be clearer to most people.

  • Well, I think that a "dubious network" is more like a network that is unlikely to operate well. That's something different from an "untrusted network" where that is undefended against attacks. And reasoning about this, "undefended" may be a good synonym (although I suppose you can have undefended and trusted and defended but untrusted, so it's certainly not a synonym in all situations). But I certainly agree with the first sentence, even though the online OED doesn't seem to contain the word. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:42
  • Oh, and I'm a security professional for 17 years now. Then again, I've been using "prepended" and "postfixed" for a long time as well. And I'm sure that "prefixed" and "appended" capture the exact same meaning, while being in the dictionary :) Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:50
  • I would limit "dubious" to its "questionable character" definition. E.g. "The dubious messages in the spam folder." Mostly dubious implies doubt and a lack of certainty. For networks, that could capture the essence of bad wiring or a MITM attack.
    – cxed
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:12

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