trai·tor | \ˈtrā-tər \

Definition of traitor 

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

2 : one who commits treason

Keep scrolling for more

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

In what are probably Sen. John McCain’s last months, the former POW and Republican presidential nominee has been denounced as a traitor, a collaborator, an egomaniac, a blowhard, a fake, a liberal and, worst of all, irrelevant. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "Hating McCain: Grant, Ted Kennedy and Nixon got a break at the end. But times change.," 23 May 2018 Others include intelligence that Russia has made nerve agents and studied how to use them for assassinations, and the view of Russian President Vladimir Putin's government that traitors are legitimate targets. Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka,, "Chemical watchdog says former Russian spy, daughter poisoned by nerve agent," 12 Apr. 2018 However, why did the authorities resort to naming and shaming, labeling those arrested as traitors? Huda Alsahi, Washington Post, "Saudi women can drive starting Sunday. Why are feminists there still labeled traitors?," 20 June 2018 My traitor sister goes to Michigan and my dad will likely be putting on the maize and blue on Saturday to cheer her team on despite graduating from Illinois himself. The Si Staff,, "Tales From Chicago's Up-Close Introduction to Rambler Fever," 28 Mar. 2018 Upon her return to the states, Barb is denounced as a traitor and suspected spy — opprobrium that worsens her terror and tension. F. Kathleen Foley,, "'Hostage' at the Skylight Theatre: a shattering slice of the Iranian crisis," 12 June 2018 Other magicians hate him for giving away secrets, call him a traitor in the comments. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award finalist: "The Sweeper of Hair" by Karin Lin-Greenberg," 2 June 2018 Ulysses Grant forgave all but the uppermost ranks of Confederate traitors. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Problem With Trump’s Pardons," 1 June 2018 Philip collaborates with Oleg to stop the traitors back home. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Americans seeks a new “START” in a tremendous series finale," 31 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about traitor

Phrases Related to traitor

turn traitor

Statistics for traitor

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traitor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on traitor

What made you want to look up traitor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!