Definition of betray
1 : to lead astray; especially : seduce <a nation betrayed into violence> <a teenager betrayed by a much older man>
2 : to deliver to an enemy by treachery <was betrayed to the authorities by one of his students> <betraying one's own country>
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.>
4a : to reveal unintentionally <betray one's true feelings>b : show, indicate <His best columns betray … the philosophical bent of his mind. — John Mason Brown>c : to disclose in violation of confidence <betray a secret>
: to prove false
betrayalplay \-ˈtrā(-ə)l\ noun
betrayerplay \-ˈtrā-ər\ noun
Examples of betray in a sentence
They betrayed their country by selling its secrets to other governments.
She is very loyal and would never betray a friend.
She betrayed her own people by supporting the enemy.
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
BETRAY Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of betray for Students
1 : to give over to an enemy by treason or treachery <betray a fort>
2 : to be unfaithful to <betray a friend> <betrayed our trust>
3 : to reveal or show without meaning to <betray fear>
4 : to tell in violation of a trust <betray a secret>
Seen and Heard
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