treason

noun
trea·​son | \ ˈtrē-zᵊn How to pronounce treason (audio) \

Definition of treason

1 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family
2 : the betrayal of a trust : treachery

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Examples of treason in a Sentence

He is guilty of treason. reading a friend's diary without permission would have to be regarded as the ultimate act of personal treason

Recent Examples on the Web

Another source of frustration is that Aye Maung, a prominent Rakhine political leader, has been charged with treason for allegedly instigating a pro-autonomy protest last year. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Feuding Monks Expose Bitter Ethnic Buddhist Divisions in Myanmar," 9 Feb. 2019 Other recent measures included the freeing, either on bail or as a result of pardons, of political prisoners, including opposition party chief Kem Sokha, who was charged last year with treason on the basis of flimsy evidence. Sopheng Cheang, The Seattle Times, "Cambodian court gives suspended sentences to labor leaders," 11 Dec. 2018 But Skrzypski, who is charged with treason, still faces up to 20 years in prison if he's found guilty. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "Polish globe-trotter blunders into Indonesia-Papua conflict," 24 Sep. 2018 His government has released prominent political prisoners and given amnesty to those charged with treason and other political crimes. Selam Gebrekidan, New York Times, "Ethiopia and Eritrea, Longtime Foes, Meet for Peace Talks," 8 July 2018 Mirzayanov spent years testing and enhancing them before exposing the program in 1991; he was charged with treason and now lives in exile in the U.S. Fortune, "What Is Novichok? Why the Russian Nerve Agent Is So Dangerous," 5 July 2018 The most famous American precedent is Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose demagoguery poisoned the political system in the early 1950s, as with his accusation that former Secretary of State George Marshall was involved with treason. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "“Spygate” and a short history of conspiracy-mongering.," 29 May 2018 We were brought into the concentration camp because my grandfather was an executive affiliated with the government who was charged with political treason. Anna Kook, USA TODAY, "North Korea defector: 'It's pretty foolish to think' Kim Jong Un would get rid of nukes," 25 May 2018 Getting caught in China usually means forced repatriation to North Korea, which sees defection as treason, punishable by death. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "A Perilous Journey to Escape Kim Jong Un’s North Korea," 20 Dec. 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for treason

Middle English tresoun, from Anglo-French traisun, from Latin tradition-, traditio act of handing over, from tradere to hand over, betray — more at traitor

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More Definitions for treason

treason

noun

English Language Learners Definition of treason

: the crime of trying to overthrow your country's government or of helping your country's enemies during war

treason

noun
trea·​son | \ ˈtrē-zᵊn How to pronounce treason (audio) \

Kids Definition of treason

: the crime of trying or helping to overthrow the government of the criminal's own country or cause its defeat in war

treason

noun
trea·​son | \ ˈtrēz-ᵊn How to pronounce treason (audio) \

Legal Definition of treason

: the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one's country or of assisting its enemies in war specifically : the act of levying war against the United States or adhering to or giving aid and comfort to its enemies by one who owes it allegiance

Other Words from treason

treasonous \ -​əs How to pronounce treasonous (audio) \ adjective

History and Etymology for treason

Anglo-French treison crime of violence against a person to whom allegiance is owed, literally, betrayal, from Old French traïson, from traïr to betray, from Latin tradere to hand over, surrender

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Comments on treason

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