betray

verb
be·​tray | \ bi-ˈtrā How to pronounce betray (audio) , bē-\
betrayed; betraying; betrays

Definition of betray

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to prove false

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Other Words from betray

betrayal \ bi-​ˈtrā(-​ə)l How to pronounce betrayal (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
betrayer \ bi-​ˈtrā-​ər How to pronounce betrayer (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for betray

Synonyms

backstab, cross, double-cross, sell (out), two-time

Antonyms

stand by

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

To do less or to dither rather than decide is to shirk our duty and betray the public’s trust. Gov. Butch Otter, idahostatesman, "Idaho Gov. Butch Otter | Read full 2018 State of the State | Idaho Statesman," 8 Jan. 2018 These are the worlds of modern-era Batman, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and so many other contemporary pop culture properties — universes in which cruelty is a given and social systems are destined to betray or disappoint. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 The New York senator often attributes her entrance into politics to Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate race, but some Clinton allies have accused her of betraying the longtime patron of her political career. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to Launch Exploratory Committee for 2020 Presidential Bid," 15 Jan. 2019 Everyone Allyson trusted disappointed her, betrayed her, or couldn’t save themselves, let alone save her. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Halloween Is More Than a Horror Movie—It's a Tribute to Mothers and Daughters," 20 Oct. 2018 Boots Riley describes himself as a communist, and the movie is about the evil of lifestyle corporations, the spiritual perils of betraying your peers, and the power of withholding one’s labor. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sorry to Bother You Is a Brilliant Black Comedy About Race, Labor, and Magic," 29 June 2018 And yet, even as this last patch of rebel territory teeters on the brink of defeat, the rebel infighting continues, with both Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman accusing each other of betraying Eastern Ghouta. chicagotribune.com, "Assad's divide-and-conquer strategy is working," 28 Mar. 2018 And few Democrats offer the left a better — and safer — opportunity to demonstrate the risks of betraying the progressive cause than Lipinski. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The Resistance Is Turning Its Fire on a Conservative Democrat," 19 Jan. 2018 In 2017, Fondazione Furla ambitiously set off in a completely new direction and re-launched its program without betraying its underlying spirit and, at the same time, strengthening its identity. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Inside the Interactive Maze Gripping the Milan Art World," 27 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'betray.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of betray

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for betray

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

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Statistics for betray

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for betray

The first known use of betray was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for betray

betray

verb

English Language Learners 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

betray

verb
be·​tray | \ bi-ˈtrā How to pronounce betray (audio) \
betrayed; betraying

Kids Definition of betray

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on betray

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with betray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for betray

Spanish Central: Translation of betray

Nglish: Translation of betray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of betray for Arabic Speakers

Comments on betray

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