trai·​tor·​ous ˈtrā-tə-rəs How to pronounce traitorous (audio)
: guilty or capable of treason
: constituting treason
traitorous activities
traitorously adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for traitorous

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 traitorous in a Sentence

when our coach took a job at a rival college, a few traitorous players went right along with him
Recent Examples on the Web Not to give too much credence to those old accusations of Alice Walker and Black feminists being traitorous man-haters, but there is a more visible effort, here, to put forth a more complicated vision of men. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2023 The most shocking death, however, is when sorceress Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) kills herself after being betrayed by her traitorous lover Vilgefortz and his involvement in the coup. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 27 July 2023 The role of the traitorous son Farnace was written for an alto castrato, and while modern productions usually cast him with a mezzo, countertenor Keith Wehmeier navigated Farnace’s entire range with power and passion. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 July 2023 This is particularly traitorous given his real purpose in Saudi Arabia: to help the country win a bid for the 2030 World Cup—a tournament that Messi’s home nation, Argentina, also hopes to win. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 The crowd was comparing notes: Had anyone even seen this traitorous Jan Moir? Lauren Oyler, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 In a letter attached to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Karp all but said the big tech companies are traitorous identity thieves who’ve been willing to do business with the Chinese government while profiting by selling users’ personal data. Max Chafkin,, 18 Sep. 2020 Some viewed her selflessness as traitorous. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2021 Wick is a businessman involved in all of the traitorous activities overseen by Redfield, including supervising the assassins who killed Rose’s (Luciane Buchanan) relatives and having a hand in the initial train bombing. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 29 Mar. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of traitorous was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near traitorous

Cite this Entry

“Traitorous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


trai·​tor·​ous ˈtrāt-ə-rəs How to pronounce traitorous (audio)
: guilty or capable of treason
: amounting to treason
traitorous acts

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