Definition of betray in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəˈtrā/


[with object]
1Expose (one’s country, a group, or a person) to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy: a double agent who betrayed some 400 British and French agents to the Germans
More example sentences
  • After all, they were betraying the organization that he had long worked to make greater.
  • I suppose often I fall over my own drawn line, but I have to give some help or I would be betraying another ethic… that of being a teacher.
  • Control Room gives insight into the concept of journalistic integrity and how each side may see the other betraying that ethic.
1.1Treacherously reveal (secrets or information): many of those employed by diplomats betrayed secrets and sold classified documents
More example sentences
  • However, sources close to him say they believe the government alleged that he was betraying details of planned NATO airstrikes to the opposition leadership.
  • I trusted Aunt Demeter to look out for my safety, but she betrayed every detail of my running away.
  • Artie promises not to betray certain details only to show us both the promise and betrayal together.
reveal, disclose, divulge, tell, give away, leak;
unmask, expose, bring out into the open;
let slip, let out, let drop, blurt out
informal blab, spill, kiss and tell
1.2Be disloyal to: his friends were shocked when he betrayed them
More example sentences
  • And if someone is disloyal, if someone betrays a trust, in Texas, they're right down there with child molesters and ax murderers.
  • As she said, ‘I felt shocked, angry, betrayed and violated’.
  • Beat your child; and the worst part of the hurt are the feelings of love betrayed, or trust shocked.
be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, double-cross, cross, break faith with, inform on/against, give away, denounce, sell out, stab in the back, break one's promise to
informal rat on, fink on, sell down the river, squeal on, rat on/out, finger
2Unintentionally reveal; be evidence of: she drew a deep breath that betrayed her indignation
More example sentences
  • Neyl wriggled out of the window and held on tightly with both hands, his face betraying his shock.
  • Michael's hand fell, his face betrayed the shock he felt.
  • Katherine's face betrayed utter shock, then utter amusement.



Pronunciation: /bəˈtrāər/
Example sentences
  • Therefore, women who do not identify as lesbians, especially women who sometimes have relationships with other women, are branded as traitors, turncoats and betrayers of the greater sisterhood.
  • So now, as Robin points out, us anti-war, would-be dissenters, deserters and betrayers are to be offered a wide-ranging smorgasbord of humanitarian pledges to get us back on the New Labour bus.
  • But once the Turks go in, you can rely on a large movement of the New-Old Iraqi Army up there to fight the Nato-linked, EU-corrupted apostate betrayers of the capital of the Caliphs.
traitor, backstabber, Judas, double-crosser;
renegade, quisling, double agent, collaborator, informer, mole, stool pigeon;
turncoat, defector
informal snake in the grass, stoolie, rat, scab, fink


Middle English: from be- 'thoroughly' + obsolete tray 'betray', from Old French trair, based on Latin tradere 'hand over'. Compare with traitor.

Words that rhyme with betray

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, day, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, engagé, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, gray, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, obey, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: be·tray

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