Definition of trahison des clercs in English:

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trahison des clercs

Pronunciation: /träˌēˌzôn dā ˈklār/
Pronunciation: /trāˌzän dā ˈklərk/


A betrayal of intellectual, artistic, or moral standards by writers, academics, or artists.
Example sentences
  • The worst betrayal of society has been the trahison des clercs - the decline of writing and the arts into a squalid celebration of all the most cloacal elements of human existence.
  • She is, after all, writing about intellectuals and accusing them of a trahison des clercs, but her mode of analysis could apply just as easily to carpenters or accountants as to writers and artists.
  • There has certainly been a trahison des clercs.


French, literally 'treason of the scholars', the title of a book by Julien Benda (1927).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tra·hi·son des clercs

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