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

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 Benedict Arnold, the Connecticut native whose name has been synonymous with the word traitor for 240 years, is getting a fairer shake thanks to a new movie. Christopher Arnott,, 10 Jan. 2022 After immediately hanging the traitor as a double agent, the deeply confused and uncertain Montiano retreated to St. Augustine. Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2021 Four Communist Party agents on a mission to smuggle an escapee from an internment camp in 1930s Manchukuo are betrayed by a traitor. Shalini Dore, Variety, 11 Nov. 2021 Bucking this prohibition, Ellison could be considered something of a class traitor. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2021 As the officers in dark windbreakers scoured the building, Anwar seemed to suspect that there was a traitor in his midst. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, 12 Oct. 2021 Three days after the attacks, Rep. Barbara Lee was the lone vote against going to war in Afghanistan to go after its perpetrators, and she was called a traitor. Philip Elliott, Time, 10 Sep. 2021 Angeli posed for photos on the dais and called Pence a traitor, according to the video. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 2 Sep. 2021 The Palestinian press regularly describes Abbas as a traitor. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 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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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Traitor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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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