- To betray is to be disloyal, to reveal secrets, or to reveal your location to an enemy.
- An example of betray is when you cheat on your spouse.
- An example of betray is when you tell secrets and betray trust.
- An example of betray is when you sneeze and your enemy is then able to find you.
- to help the enemy of (one's country, cause, etc.); be a traitor to
- to deliver or expose to an enemy traitorously
- to break faith with; fail to meet the hopes of: he betrayed my trust in him
- to lead astray; deceive; specif., to seduce and then desert
- to reveal unknowingly or against one's wishes: his face betrays his fear
- to reveal or show signs of; indicate: the house betrays its age
- to disclose (secret information, confidential plans, etc.)
Origin of betrayMiddle English bitraien ; from be-, intensive + traien, betray ; from Old French trair ; from Classical Latin tradere, to hand over: see treason
transitive verbbe·trayed, be·tray·ing, be·trays
- a. To give aid or information to an enemy of; commit treason against: betray one's country.b. To inform upon or deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance: “City investigators betrayed him to his bosses as a whistle-blower” (Selwyn Raab).
- To be false or disloyal to: betrayed a cause; betray one's spouse.
- To divulge in a breach of confidence: betray a secret.
- To make known unintentionally: Her hollow laugh betrayed her contempt for the idea.
- To lead astray; deceive: “She felt somewhat like a woman who in a moment of passion is betrayed into an act of infidelity” (Kate Chopin).
Origin of betrayMiddle English bitrayen : bi-, be- + trayen, to betray (from Old French trair, from Latin trādere, to hand over; see tradition).
(third-person singular simple present betrays, present participle betraying, simple past and past participle betrayed)
- To deliver into the hands of an enemy by treachery or fraud, in violation of trust; to give up treacherously or faithlessly; as, an officer betrayed the city.
- To prove faithless or treacherous to, as to a trust or one who trusts; to be false to; to deceive; as, to betray a person or a cause.
- To violate the confidence of, by disclosing a secret, or that which one is bound in honor not to make known.
- To disclose or discover, as something which prudence would conceal; to reveal unintentionally; to bewray.
- To mislead; to expose to inconvenience not foreseen to lead into error or sin.
- To lead astray, as a maiden; to seduce (as under promise of marriage) and then abandon.
- To show or to indicate; -- said of what is not obvious at first, or would otherwise be concealed.
From Middle English betrayen, betraien, equivalent to be- + tray (“to betray”), from Old French traïr (“to commit treason, betray”), from Latin trādere, present active infinitive of trādō (“deliver, give over”, verb). In some senses, merged with or influenced by Middle English bewraien, bewreyen (“to reveal, divulge”), see bewray. Compare also traitor, treason, tradition.