[ bih-trey ]
See synonyms for: betraybetrayedbetrayingbetrayal on

verb (used with object)
  1. to deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty: Benedict Arnold betrayed his country.

  2. to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling: to betray a trust.

  1. to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to: to betray one's friends.

  2. to reveal or disclose in violation of confidence: to betray a secret.

  3. to reveal unconsciously (something one would preferably conceal): Her nervousness betrays her insecurity.

  4. to show or exhibit; reveal; disclose: an unfeeling remark that betrays his lack of concern.

  5. to deceive, misguide, or corrupt: a young lawyer betrayed by political ambitions into irreparable folly.

  6. to seduce and desert.

Origin of betray

First recorded in 1200–50; from Middle English bitraien, equivalent to bi- be- + traien, from Old French trair, from Latin trādere “to betray”; see traitor

Other words for betray

Opposites for betray

Other words from betray

  • be·tray·al, noun
  • be·tray·er, noun
  • pre·be·tray, verb (used with object)
  • self-be·tray·ing, adjective
  • un·be·tray·ing, adjective

Words Nearby betray Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use betray in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for betray


/ (bɪˈtreɪ) /

  1. to aid an enemy of (one's nation, friend, etc); be a traitor to: to betray one's country

  2. to hand over or expose (one's nation, friend, etc) treacherously to an enemy

  1. to disclose (a secret, confidence, etc) treacherously

  2. to break (a promise) or be disloyal to (a person's trust)

  3. to disappoint the expectations of; fail: his tired legs betrayed him

  4. to show signs of; indicate: if one taps china, the sound betrays any faults

  5. to reveal unintentionally: his grin betrayed his satisfaction

  6. betray oneself to reveal one's true character, intentions, etc

  7. to lead astray; deceive

  8. euphemistic to seduce and then forsake (a woman)

Origin of betray

C13: from be- + trayen from Old French trair, from Latin trādere

Derived forms of betray

  • betrayal, noun
  • betrayer, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012