Definition of trahison des clercs in English:

Share this entry

trahison des clercs

Pronunciation: /träˌēˌzôn dā ˈklār/
/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).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.