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 But to others, Smith was a traitor who reneged on his U.S. military oath and fought to preserve Southern life and slavery. Stephen Hudak,, 1 July 2021 Ilya did help frame Reddington as a traitor, and as a result concocted the plan to impersonate Reddington following his death. Jodi Walker,, 17 June 2021 Anyone who spoke out publicly against the government could be considered a traitor to the nation. Natalie Gallón And Matt Rivers, CNN, 14 June 2021 Players can take on the roles of visiting villain or departing traitor, and fans provide an eager, energizing chorus. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, 2 June 2021 He was denounced as a traitor for his opposition to Kemal Atatürk and was attacked and hanged by a nationalist mob wielding stones, sticks, and knives. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 7 June 2021 Carrie Soto wasn't a thief; Brandon Randall was a traitor., 24 May 2021 In 1961 the Briton of Dutch origin had been unmasked as a KGB spy and had become the first officer in the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, known today as MI6) ever to be convicted as a traitor. Simon Kuper, Town & Country, 11 May 2021 But at the outbreak of Civil War, Union commanders were quick to seize the property, not only because of its commanding position overlooking the Potomac River and Washington, but because its owner was now a traitor. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2021

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

14 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Traitor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for traitor



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

More from Merriam-Webster on traitor

Nglish: Translation of traitor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of traitor for Arabic Speakers


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