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.
  3. to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to: to betray one's friends.
  4. to reveal or disclose in violation of confidence: to betray a secret.
  5. to reveal unconsciously (something one would preferably conceal): Her nervousness betrays her insecurity.
  6. to show or exhibit; reveal; disclose: an unfeeling remark that betrays his lack of concern.
  7. to deceive, misguide, or corrupt: a young lawyer betrayed by political ambitions into irreparable folly.
  8. to seduce and desert.

Origin of betray

1200–50; Middle English bitraien, equivalent to bi- be- + traien < Old French trair < Latin trādere to betray. See traitor
Related formsbe·tray·al, nounbe·tray·er, nounpre·be·tray, verb (used with object)pre·be·tray·al, nounself-be·tray·al, nounself-be·tray·ing, adjectiveun·be·trayed, adjectiveun·be·tray·ing, adjective

Synonyms for betray

Antonyms for betray

4, 6. hide, conceal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-betrayal

Historical Examples of self-betrayal

  • The greater plays are studies of treachery and self-betrayal.

    William Shakespeare

    John Masefield

  • But now, what of the self-betrayal into which he had just surprised her?

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

  • Before the generosity of this self-betrayal I bowed my head.

    One of My Sons

    Anna Katharine Green

  • Her self-betrayal his simple nature did not at once discern.

    The Wave

    Algernon Blackwood

  • This time there was not the slightest hint of self-betrayal from the other.

    Star Hunter

    Andre Alice Norton

British Dictionary definitions for self-betrayal


verb (tr)
  1. to aid an enemy of (one's nation, friend, etc); be a traitor toto betray one's country
  2. to hand over or expose (one's nation, friend, etc) treacherously to an enemy
  3. to disclose (a secret, confidence, etc) treacherously
  4. to break (a promise) or be disloyal to (a person's trust)
  5. to disappoint the expectations of; failhis tired legs betrayed him
  6. to show signs of; indicateif one taps china, the sound betrays any faults
  7. to reveal unintentionallyhis grin betrayed his satisfaction
  8. betray oneself to reveal one's true character, intentions, etc
  9. to lead astray; deceive
  10. euphemistic to seduce and then forsake (a woman)
Derived Formsbetrayal, nounbetrayer, noun

Word Origin for betray

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

Word Origin and History for self-betrayal



late 13c., bitrayen "mislead, deceive, betray," from be- + obsolete Middle English tray, from Old French traine "betrayal, deception, deceit," from trair (Modern French trahir) "betray, deceive," from Latin tradere "hand over," from trans- "across" (see trans-) + dare "to give" (see date (n.1)). Related: Betrayed; betraying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper