dis·​loy·​al (ˌ)dis-ˈlȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce disloyal (audio)
: lacking in loyalty
also : showing an absence of allegiance, devotion, obligation, faith, or support
his disloyal refusal to help his friend
disloyally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for disloyal

faithless, false, disloyal, traitorous, treacherous, perfidious mean untrue to what should command one's fidelity or allegiance.

faithless applies to any failure to keep a promise or pledge or any breach of allegiance or loyalty.

faithless allies

false stresses the fact of failing to be true in any manner ranging from fickleness to cold treachery.

betrayed by false friends

disloyal implies a lack of complete faithfulness to a friend, cause, leader, or country.

disloyal to their country

traitorous implies either actual treason or a serious betrayal of trust.

traitorous acts punishable by death

treacherous implies readiness to betray trust or confidence.

a treacherous adviser

perfidious adds to faithless the implication of an incapacity for fidelity or reliability.

a perfidious double-crosser

Examples of disloyal in a Sentence

It would be disloyal to abandon them. we sensed that he was disloyal and would eventually turn on us
Recent Examples on the Web Pete may be a disloyal son and a rookie cop, but he’s also got that Gen-Z savvy. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 21 Jan. 2024 But after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, during which Palestinian and Yemeni workers were often seen as disloyal, Arab migrant laborers were increasingly replaced in the country by politically safer South Asian workers. Marc Lynch, Foreign Affairs, 22 Feb. 2022 There is nothing unpatriotic or disloyal about understanding another people’s history and its foundational narratives. Ziad Asali, The Atlantic, 17 Apr. 2024 Nationalists call on the state to punish disloyal actors, such as Western brands, Chinese feminists, and incautious celebrities. Chang Che, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for disloyal 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disloyal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French desleial, desloial, from des- dis- + leal loyal

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disloyal was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near disloyal

Cite this Entry

“Disloyal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disloyal. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​loy·​al (ˈ)dis-ˈlȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce disloyal (audio)
: lacking in loyalty
disloyally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on disloyal

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