be·​tray·​al | \ bi-ˈtrā(-ə)l How to pronounce betrayal (audio) , bē- \
plural betrayals

Definition of betrayal

1 : the act of betraying someone or something or the fact of being betrayed : violation of a person's trust or confidence, of a moral standard, etc. the betrayal of a friend a betrayal of trust a betrayal of one's principles A man who built his entire administration upon demanding unctuous loyalty from his allies now finds himself wounded by their shabby betrayal.— Jack Hitt The double life of an informant is a peculiar one, filled at the same time with tedium and betrayal.— Karen Richardson Even Jesus recognized that there was something paradoxical about his betrayal by Judas Iscariot—in three of the four canonical Gospels, with a kiss.— David Gates
2 : revelation of something hidden or secret a betrayal of one's true feelings There was never doubt, never a betrayal of indecision.— Jack London … she had shrunk with irresistible dread from every course that could tend towards a betrayal of her miserable secret.— George Eliot

First Known Use of betrayal

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of betrayal was in 1788

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Cite this Entry

“Betrayal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on betrayal

Nglish: Translation of betrayal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of betrayal for Arabic Speakers


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