Definition of betray in English:

betray

verb

[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’
    • ‘If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.’
    • ‘Did his god help him when his own nephew betrayed him to our enemies?’
    • ‘She was made to feel guilty, as if by divulging the most obvious information, she had betrayed him - infringed on his privacy.’
    • ‘Sammy would probably end up betraying him to some enemy, pursuing his own path, or would be murdered by a newly presented enemy.’
    • ‘But then the King betrayed her to the enemies of France, to the British, the Normans.’
    • ‘If I was heir to the throne, they couldn't possibly consciously betray me to the enemy.’
    • ‘Even if that something turned out to be a rather nasty traitor who betrayed his companions, that was still better than being nothing at all.’
    • ‘If we have done our jobs correctly, Lee should be nearly ready to betray us as a double agent.’
    • ‘In the end, the records and messages in his mobile phone betray him and his affairs are exposed.’
    • ‘Incensed that something as ‘trivial’ as racist abuse could lead to a man losing his job, one reader compared me to the person who betrayed Anne Frank.’
    • ‘The person who actually betrayed Tom was Rupert and he (and those on the Rupert love-train) don't even realise it.’
    • ‘I know who the person is [who betrayed him and sent the image on to a wider audience].’
    • ‘That will give heart to their leader, who relies implicitly on such support and it makes unlikely his claim that an internal enemy will flush him out or betray him.’
    • ‘He became increasingly paranoid that one of his staff would betray him - deliver him alive to the enemy - so much so that he tested the poison on his dog.’
    • ‘Pakistani intelligence and agents for an American pipeline firm appear to be the puppet masters as the two men become caught up in a clash between the would-be conqueror and an ally who betrays him.’
    • ‘In a characteristic gesture, he made a tape of their confessions and had it distributed as a warning to others who might betray the organization.’
    • ‘There are others who believe they were betrayed by an organization of cheap confidence tricksters and want to tell the world about it.’
    • ‘The Italian sea defense was betrayed to the Teutons’
    • ‘There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes.’
    break one's promise to, be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, break faith with, play someone false, fail, let down
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    1. 1.1Treacherously reveal (information)
      ‘many of those employed by diplomats betrayed secrets’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘None of those who did know her would even consider betraying that information.’
      • ‘He admitted that rumors were circulating that Badr Corps fighters were betraying to the Americans the hiding-places of Mahdi Army officials.’
      reveal, disclose, divulge, give away, leak, lay bare, make known, uncover, unmask, expose, bring out into the open, tell
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    2. 1.2Be gravely disloyal to.
      ‘the men who have betrayed British people's trust’
      • ‘Anyone who votes for them is betraying the memory of all those who fought and died fighting the Nazis.’
      • ‘And of course the second thing he does through this travesty is to minimise the Holocaust itself and the crimes of the actual Nazis. and thus to betray the memory of those who died.’
      • ‘But that does not betray my memory of my first husband or my love for him.’
      • ‘It is true that for too long I denied the sentiments that lingered in my heart in my reluctance to betray my memory of William.’
      • ‘He was highly criticised for this view; some politicians even accused him of betraying the memory of the dead Bulgarian soldiers.’
      • ‘The shop that stocks it lies on the site of the old Goldstone Ground and his father refuses even to drive past the shop, let alone betray his club and his friends and their memories by stepping inside it.’
      • ‘She suddenly felt that even in knowing James, and in befriending him, that she was betraying Khalid's memory.’
      • ‘So why were they betraying his memory and helping the new family move in?’
      • ‘It was the saddest day in her life, for it felt like she had finally abandoned her love for Julian, that she had betrayed his memory.’
      • ‘Even as I wondered I felt like I'd betrayed the memory of someone I'd known forever.’
      • ‘I wanted him so much but would it betray Adam's memory?’
      • ‘She simply could not betray Christopher's memory that way.’
      • ‘Despite her promise to Jack to live her life to the fullest, it still seemed that she would somehow betray his memory if she were to let another man touch her like that.’
      • ‘He said the ANC's practical actions should convey the message that it would not betray the memory of those who made sacrifices for the cause of liberation.’
      • ‘She felt like she was cheating on Andy, like she was betraying his memory.’
      • ‘And by erasing me from your memory and heart, you're betraying your blood.’
      • ‘To be betrayed by Judas, deserted by all the disciples, and denied by Peter.’
      betray, inform against, inform on
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  • 2Unintentionally reveal; be evidence of.

    ‘she drew a deep breath that betrayed her indignation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her face betrayed her shock and betrayal, her eyes filled with tears.’
    • ‘Chantal's response forced his eyes to betray his shock as well.’
    • ‘That this result has been a shock betrays the chasm between the top two divisions.’
    • ‘Yet if the 25-year-old's words spoke of surprise, they should not have done; his voice betrayed modesty, not shock.’
    • ‘Herod's face betrayed his shock and anger as he scooted his large body off his throne.’
    • ‘Jake's dark eyes betrayed that he was in a state of worried shock in itself, but it seemed to vanish when Vivian's blessed lips spread into a infinitely joyful smile.’
    • ‘Her pale face betrayed the greatness of the shock she had just been through.’
    • ‘And the carefree indifference to the truth that that sort of statement betrays is worrisome in the extreme - even if it's said in the service of a goal you think we should pursue.’
    • ‘That's why I say it's an absurd question, because it betrays, at the very least, a serious oversimplification of evolutionary genetics.’
    • ‘This betrays, I think, a stunning ignorance of history.’
    • ‘It does seem that The Times sometimes betrays what is likely the more liberal leanings of a lot of its staff.’
    • ‘If it wasn't, their repeated refusal to even investigate gross abuses betrays a lack of interest in truth or accuracy that calls into question our ability to believe anything written in the paper.’
    • ‘‘Tell me we're not going where I think we're going,’ Dead-Eye asked, his voice betraying only mild interest.’
    • ‘Just a slight tensing of the muscles, an infinitesimal straightening of the back, a tiny lift of the head, betrayed his sudden interest.’
    • ‘Only the subtle movement of one huge furry ear betrayed his interest in the exchange.’
    • ‘I queried, the look of puzzlement on my face betraying the fact that I hadn't a clue what he was talking about.’
    • ‘The fact that the New York Post article was written as it was betrays the fact that the Administration feels very vulnerable about this whole issue.’
    manifest, make manifest, exhibit, reveal, convey, communicate, make known
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Origin

Middle English from be-‘thoroughly’ + obsolete tray ‘betray’, from Old French trair, based on Latin tradere ‘hand over’.

Pronunciation

betray

/bɪˈtreɪ/