verb (used with object)

  1. to deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty: Benedict Arnold betrayed his country.
  2. to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling: to betray a trust.
  3. to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to: to betray one’s friends.
  4. to reveal or disclose in violation of confidence: to betray a secret.
  5. to reveal unconsciously (something one would preferably conceal): Her nervousness betrays her insecurity.
  6. to show or exhibit; reveal; disclose: an unfeeling remark that betrays his lack of concern.
  7. to deceive, misguide, or corrupt: a young lawyer betrayed by political ambitions into irreparable folly.
  8. to seduce and desert.

verb (tr)

  1. to aid an enemy of (one’s nation, friend, etc); be a traitor toto betray one’s country
  2. to hand over or expose (one’s nation, friend, etc) treacherously to an enemy
  3. to disclose (a secret, confidence, etc) treacherously
  4. to break (a promise) or be disloyal to (a person’s trust)
  5. to disappoint the expectations of; failhis tired legs betrayed him
  6. to show signs of; indicateif one taps china, the sound betrays any faults
  7. to reveal unintentionallyhis grin betrayed his satisfaction
  8. betray oneself to reveal one’s true character, intentions, etc
  9. to lead astray; deceive
  10. euphemistic to seduce and then forsake (a woman)

1816; from betray + -al (2). Earlier in the same sense were betrayment (1540s), betraying (late 14c.).


late 13c., bitrayen “mislead, deceive, betray,” from be- + obsolete Middle English tray, from Old French traine “betrayal, deception, deceit,” from trair (Modern French trahir) “betray, deceive,” from Latin tradere “hand over,” from trans- “across” (see trans-) + dare “to give” (see date (n.1)). Related: Betrayed; betraying.

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