treach·​er·​ous | \ ˈtre-chə-rəs How to pronounce treacherous (audio) , ˈtrech-rəs \

Definition of treacherous

1a : likely to betray trust : unreliable a treacherous memory
b : providing insecure footing or support treacherous quicksand
c : marked by hidden dangers, hazards, or perils
2 : characterized by or manifesting treachery : perfidious

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Other Words from treacherous

treacherously adverb
treacherousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for treacherous

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 treacherous in a Sentence

a treacherous act of betrayal They were not prepared to hike over such treacherous terrain. The snow made their hike all the more treacherous. Discussions about money can lead couples into treacherous territory.
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Recent Examples on the Web The treacherous journey appears to have begun in Honduras, said a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s migration authority, Alejandra Mena, the BBC reported. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, 10 Oct. 2021 Jameson Donacien and his pregnant wife, Nadege, made the long, treacherous journey. Dianne Solis, Dallas News, 25 Sep. 2021 Most will move within the country, to cities in search of work, while others will join the tens of thousands of Guatemalans who each year attempt a much more treacherous journey north. NBC News, 21 Sep. 2021 Before traversing Central America, many Haitians undertake a treacherous journey through the Darien Gap, a roadless jungle region near Panama's border with Colombia. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 18 Sep. 2021 The search for Brian Laundrie continues Authorities continued to search for Laundrie in the vast Florida wetland, using dogs, drones and ATV vehicles in the treacherous terrain. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2021 The coach navigated this treacherous terrain with a smile and consistent optimism, never failing to express his gratitude and appreciation for his position. Greg Beacham, ajc, 14 Sep. 2021 The fire started at about 7 p.m., and night firefighting on treacherous terrain is particularly challenging for firefighters, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Yoohyun Jung, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Aug. 2021 While planetary rovers can only travel at relatively slow speeds for limited distances, flying probes could cover large distances on remote planets and moons while avoiding treacherous terrain. NBC News, 23 Aug. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of treacherous was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Treacherous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of treacherous

: not able to be trusted : showing that someone cannot be trusted
: very dangerous and difficult to deal with


treach·​er·​ous | \ ˈtre-chə-rəs How to pronounce treacherous (audio) \

Kids Definition of treacherous

1 : not safe because of hidden dangers This was a treacherous road at night …— John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox
2 : not trustworthy : guilty of betrayal or likely to betray a treacherous enemy

Other Words from treacherous

treacherously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on treacherous

Nglish: Translation of treacherous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of treacherous for Arabic Speakers


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