trai·​tor | \ ˈtrā-tər How to pronounce traitor (audio) \

Definition of traitor

1 : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2 : one who commits treason

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Examples of traitor in a Sentence

She has been called a traitor to the liberal party's cause. He was a traitor who betrayed his country by selling military secrets to the enemy.
Recent Examples on the Web Until April Over Coronavirus Fears Lai has long championed the city’s pro-democracy movement and has been labeled a traitor by the Chinese government. Time, "Hong Kong Newspaper Owner Arrested on Charges of Unlawful Assembly and Intimidation," 28 Feb. 2020 However, Straus quickly assigned ever-greater duties to Capriglione, who soon was reviled by staunchly conservative activists such as Austin consultant Luke Macias as a traitor to their faction of the Texas GOP. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Tarrant County lawmaker tapped to be Texas House’s chief budget writer," 17 Jan. 2020 One player also acts as a secret traitor, actively trying to frustrate the group’s effort to escape. Owen Duffy, Ars Technica, "The best new board games from the world’s biggest board game show," 3 Nov. 2019 Impeachment was designed to rid this nation of traitors and tyrants, not attempts to cover up an extramarital affair. Corey Williams, Twin Cities, "John Conyers, longest serving black congressman, dies at 90," 27 Oct. 2019 In a series of trials that were publicized around the world, some of the oldest and most trusted Bolshevik leaders—men who, with Lenin, had led the Russian Revolution—were accused of being traitors. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, "The Desperate Plight Behind “Darkness at Noon”," 23 Sep. 2019 State media in China labeled Ho and other artists who had supported the protesters as traitors, circulating lists of singers and actors who were no longer to be mentioned or allowed in mainland China. Alice Su,, "Defying China blacklist, some Hong Kong celebrities are speaking out during protests," 10 July 2019 The impeachment case against Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistle-blowers, and traitors. Maggie Haberman,, "A presidency increasingly guided by suspicion and distrust," 15 Feb. 2020 Even if Assassins is understandably unable to definitively establish North Korea’s responsibility for Kim Jong-nam’s murder, his violent death chillingly signals that any potential traitors may face a similar fate. Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Assassins': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 26 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'traitor.' 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 traitor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for traitor

Middle English traytour, from Anglo-French traitre, from Latin traditor, from tradere to hand over, deliver, betray, from trans-, tra- trans- + dare to give — more at date

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Time Traveler for traitor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for traitor

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Traitor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for traitor


How to pronounce traitor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of traitor

: a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy


trai·​tor | \ ˈtrā-tər How to pronounce traitor (audio) \

Kids Definition of traitor

1 : a person who is not loyal or true to a friend, duty, cause, or belief or is false to a personal duty
2 : a person who betrays his or her country : a person who commits treason

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More from Merriam-Webster on traitor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for traitor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with traitor

Spanish Central: Translation of traitor

Nglish: Translation of traitor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of traitor for Arabic Speakers

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