Could you explain to me please the difference between "trust" and "entrust" by the following examples?

(1a) I entrusted this secret to her.
my variant:
(1b) I trusted this secret to her.
What is the difference between (1a) & (1b)?

(2a) entrust your car to a friend = entrust a friend with your car
my variant:
(2b) trust your car to a friend = trust a friend with your car
What is the difference between (2a) & (2b)?

Proceeding from FumbleFingers' comments and Sam's answer, I understood that the construction "to trust smth to smn" is unnatural to them. So, in order for this thing not to distract attention from the difference in meaning anymore, I think it's better for me to rewrite the question in a more clear way:

(3a) to entrust her with this secret
(3b) to trust her with this secret
What is the difference between (3a) & (3b)?

(4a) to entrust a friend with your car
(4b) to trust a friend with your car
What is the difference between (4a) & (4b)?

  • Your (b) versions are syntactically invalid. To trust X means to have faith that X will behave the way you want - a "generic" assertion which can be extended / particularized to, for example, I trust John to do this specific thing. The sequence I entrust X is not valid without some explicitly specified complement - for example, I entrust John with my baby, I entrusted my baby to John. But be warned that "valid" use of entrust is a minefield even for many native speakers - you'd be well advised to avoid using it completely! Jul 4, 2023 at 13:56
  • 1
    Note that - as pointed out above - "to behave the way I want" is implicit in I trust John even with, for example I trust John with my car (I have faith that he will behave the way I want when he is using my car; I don't expect him to crash it!). Jul 4, 2023 at 14:01
  • @FumbleFingers You wrote (1b) & (2b) are syntactically invalid. Do you mean "to trust smth to smn" is an incorrect construction? If so, then why does a dictionary have it?: to trust smth to smn - to give the responsibility of doing smth to smn: They trusted the care of their daughter to her grandparents while they were on vacation.
    – Loviii
    Jul 4, 2023 at 14:30
  • Well, I suppose "valid syntax" for trust is just as vague as for entrust in some contexts. Personally, I don't accept that example They trusted the care of their daughter to her grandparents while they were on vacation - to me, only the verb entrust works in that exact context. As you can probably see, that's exactly the same syntactic structure as your (b) examples, which are also unacceptable to me.... Jul 4, 2023 at 14:44
  • I can't read any written instances of she trusted her baby to (someone who she trusted to look after her baby). That's the construction I'm saying I don't like. But there are dozens of written instances of she entrusted her baby to (a childminder, wetnurse, etc.). So I say forget the dictionary and believe what people write. Jul 4, 2023 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


"trusted" and "entrusted" have different meanings and aren't interchangeable. Most of your (b) examples are wrong.

  1. Entrust - this means to give something to somebody (temporarily or permanently) with the idea they will take care of it. You would specify both the object and indirect object. "He entrusted the car to the friend". object -> car, indirect object -> friend.

  2. Trust - this means to believe someone is dependable. "He trusted his friend". In this case the direct object is the person.

If you'd like to add a physical object into the scenario with the word "trust", it might become "He trusted his friend with the car". Notice how the grammar is constructed. The direct object is still the person, who is trusted, which means "believed to be reliable, dependable, safe, trustworthy, to act in the expected way". The word "trust" refers to your opinion of the person.

Your opinion of the person is they will not crash the car.

The word "entrust" is a drop-in replacement for the word "give". The sentence must mention the thing being given.

Certainly there are similarities in the two meanings, and it's not a coincidence they appear to be almost the same word.

  • Please, see the update I did at the end of my original post.
    – Loviii
    Jul 5, 2023 at 3:04

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