betray

verb
be·​tray | \ bi-ˈtrā, 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 , bē-​ \ noun
betrayer \ bi-​ˈtrā-​ər , 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

Proving Flynn not only provided aid and comfort to ISIS, but also consciously intended to betray the United States of America, would be basically impossible. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Michael Flynn’s judge suggested he might be guilty of treason. He’s not.," 18 Dec. 2018 The trajectory of her life and career are of course still uncertain, but Midge, bless her, seems unlikely to betray us. Marjorie Ingall, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 4 Dec. 2018 To win Tuesday’s case, government lawyers sought to persuade the court that the U.S. decided to betray its promises completely, rather than only in large part. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Revisits Westward Expansion," 27 Nov. 2018 In his first interview since leaving Facebook, Acton told Forbes’ Parmy Olson that he felt betrayed by the company in two ways. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why the WhatsApp acquisition ended with everyone mad at each other," 27 Sep. 2018 This is the second time in recent history that a state has entered into a nuclear agreement with the U.S. only to be betrayed by the subsequent administration. Musa Al-gharbi, The New Republic, "How to Torpedo U.S. Credibility," 9 May 2018 Some of these behaviors betray perpetrators’ feelings of (entitled) attraction, while others expose more clearly the long-simmering resentment that our society (male and otherwise) holds towards plus-size people. Nora Whelan, SELF, "Believing Women Means Believing the Plus-Size Ones, Too," 21 Nov. 2018 Joaquin betrayed Archie with a kiss and a stab wound! Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Is Officially Out of Control," 15 Nov. 2018 The mistrust of bureaucracy and human greed that’s fueled his environmental endeavors betrays a greater wariness of power, privilege, and the myth of masculinity. Marley Marius, Vogue, "An Ode to Robert Redford, on What May Be His Retirement From Acting," 25 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

28 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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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