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verb be·tray \bi-ˈtrā, bē-\

Simple Definition of betray

  • : to give information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy

  • : to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong

  • : to show (something, such as a feeling or desire) without wanting or trying to

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of betray

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to lead astray; especially :  seduce

  3. 2 :  to deliver to an enemy by treachery

  4. 3 :  to fail or desert especially in time of need <betrayed his family>

  5. 4 a :  to reveal unintentionally <betray one's true feelings> b :  show, indicate c :  to disclose in violation of confidence <betray a secret>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to prove false


play \-ˈtrā(-ə)l\ noun


play \-ˈtrā-ər\ noun

Examples of betray in a sentence

  1. They betrayed their country by selling its secrets to other governments.

  2. She is very loyal and would never betray a friend.

  3. She betrayed her own people by supporting the enemy.

  4. She coughed, betraying her presence behind the door.

Origin and Etymology of betray

Middle English, from be- + trayen to betray, from Anglo-French trahir, from Latin tradere — more at traitor

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of betray

reveal, disclose, divulge, tell, betray mean to make known what has been or should be concealed. reveal may apply to supernatural or inspired revelation of truths beyond the range of ordinary human vision or reason <divine will as revealed in sacred writings>. disclose may imply a discovering but more often an imparting of information previously kept secret <candidates must disclose their financial assets>. divulge implies a disclosure involving some impropriety or breach of confidence <refused to divulge an anonymous source>. tell implies an imparting of necessary or useful information <told them what he had overheard>. betray implies a divulging that represents a breach of faith or an involuntary or unconscious disclosure <a blush that betrayed her embarrassment>.

BETRAY Defined for Kids


verb be·tray \bi-ˈtrā\

Definition of betray for Students



  1. 1 :  to give over to an enemy by treason or treachery <betray a fort>

  2. 2 :  to be unfaithful to <betray a friend> <betrayed our trust>

  3. 3 :  to reveal or show without meaning to <betray fear>

  4. 4 :  to tell in violation of a trust <betray a secret>

Seen and Heard

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of a yellow-green or bluish-gray color

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