betray

play
verb be·tray \bi-ˈtrā, bē-\

Definition of betray

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to lead astray; especially :  seduce a nation betrayed into violence a teenager betrayed by a much older man

  3. 2 :  to deliver to an enemy by treachery was betrayed to the authorities by one of his students betraying one's own country

  4. 3 :  to fail or desert especially in time of need betrayed his family felt that she would be betraying her principles You've betrayed our trust.

  5. 4a :  to reveal unintentionally betray one's true feelingsb :  show, indicate His best columns betray … the philosophical bent of his mind. — John Mason Brownc :  to disclose in violation of confidence betray a secret

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to prove false

betrayal

play \-ˈtrā(-ə)l\ noun

betrayer

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 English Language Learners

betray

play
verb be·tray \bi-ˈtrā, bē-\

Definition of betray for English Language Learners

  • : 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


BETRAY Defined for Kids

betray

play
verb be·tray \bi-ˈtrā\

Definition of betray for Students

betrayed

;

betraying

  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

What made you want to look up betray? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

not embarrassed or apologetic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!