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 was heir to the throne, they couldn't possibly consciously betray me to the enemy.’
    • ‘After all, they were betraying the organization that he had long worked to make greater.’
    • ‘The only branch of humanity who did not make the grade were the planters of the Caribbean islands who chose to betray their class interests because of race considerations.’
    • ‘There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes.’
    • ‘‘He has sold out our country and betrayed our national interests,’ a former supporter told me.’
    • ‘There are others who believe they were betrayed by an organization of cheap confidence tricksters and want to tell the world about it.’
    • ‘Both of these ideologies have betrayed their promises.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But then the King betrayed her to the enemies of France, to the British, the Normans.’
    • ‘So long as racism exists, there will be a need for an independent black politics to make sure that black people's interests are not betrayed.’
    • ‘The person who actually betrayed Tom was Rupert and he (and those on the Rupert love-train) don't even realise it.’
    • ‘The Italian sea defense was betrayed to the Teutons’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sanctions against the Taliban have merely hardened their resolve not to break with their cultural tradition and betray their honoured guest to their enemies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The newly formed Albanian National Army refused to accept the agreement claiming it betrayed Albanian interests.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In spycraft there are four ways to persuade someone to betray their country, known as MICE; Money, Ideology, Coercion & Ego.’
    • ‘In every way possible, conservative dogma has betrayed the country.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sammy would probably end up betraying him to some enemy, pursuing his own path, or would be murdered by a newly presented enemy.’
    • ‘This is why he must swear repeatedly that he would never betray American interests to foreign powers: because he will.’
    • ‘Control Room gives insight into the concept of journalistic integrity and how each side may see the other betraying that ethic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So to some he is already betraying the interests of small countries and the commission, keeper of the supranational flame, to power-grabbing Brits, Spaniards and French.’
    • ‘Saudi Arabia has a long history of betraying the interests of both Israel and the Palestinians, and peacemaking that aims at mollifying the Saudi royal family is doomed to failure.’
    • ‘If we have done our jobs correctly, Lee should be nearly ready to betray us as a double agent.’
    • ‘Politicians can betray the public interest when it comes into conflict with, and loses to, their own private interests.’
    • ‘And in the process she betrays all her own careful jurisprudence around race.’
    • ‘Not to do so would be to betray the public interest and endanger the police, health service workers and victims.’
    • ‘By granting them such privilege, aren't Bulgarians betraying national interests?’
    • ‘The DAB vice-chairman said the democrats had betrayed the interests of the parents and the teachers by voting against the bill.’
    • ‘We don't think the United States has any interest whatsoever in betraying the poor Kurds you see for self-interest.’
    • ‘Could members of a gang be so myopic that they act in ways that betray their best interests?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the end, the records and messages in his mobile phone betray him and his affairs are exposed.’
    • ‘I know who the person is [who betrayed him and sent the image on to a wider audience].’
    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. 1.1 Treacherously reveal (information)
      ‘many of those employed by diplomats betrayed secrets’
      • ‘None of those who did know her would even consider betraying that information.’
      • ‘Artie promises not to betray certain details only to show us both the promise and betrayal together.’
      • ‘I trusted Aunt Demeter to look out for my safety, but she betrayed every detail of my running away.’
      • ‘He admitted that rumors were circulating that Badr Corps fighters were betraying to the Americans the hiding-places of Mahdi Army officials.’
      • ‘However, sources close to him say they believe the government alleged that he was betraying details of planned NATO airstrikes to the opposition leadership.’
      reveal, disclose, divulge, give away, leak, lay bare, make known, uncover, unmask, expose, bring out into the open, tell
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    2. 1.2 Be gravely disloyal to.
      ‘the men who have betrayed British people's trust’
      • ‘A lot of what you see and read on the web requires trust on the part of the reader, and when someone betrays that trust, every reader that bought into the story loses something.’
      • ‘He stood shocked, unable to think of words, only feeling betrayed.’
      • ‘And by erasing me from your memory and heart, you're betraying your blood.’
      • ‘I feel betrayed, as if The Mysterious M has been disloyal in some way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So why were they betraying his memory and helping the new family move in?’
      • ‘He now feels angry beyond words at ConAgra, misused, betrayed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beat your child; and the worst part of the hurt are the feelings of love betrayed, or trust shocked.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As she said, ‘I felt shocked, angry, betrayed and violated’.’
      • ‘She suddenly felt that even in knowing James, and in befriending him, that she was betraying Khalid's memory.’
      • ‘I wanted him so much but would it betray Adam's memory?’
      • ‘The university's actions left me feeling betrayed.’
      • ‘And the human relationship with this entity is evolving in the moment as people come to terms with a compact broken - a covenant betrayed.’
      • ‘She simply could not betray Christopher's memory that way.’
      • ‘And to a great extent, I feel somewhat betrayed, if you will.’
      • ‘You are left feeling feel betrayed, shocked, dismayed and maybe minus an ear lobe or fingertip.’
      • ‘He was highly criticised for this view; some politicians even accused him of betraying the memory of the dead Bulgarian soldiers.’
      • ‘Just like Germany and Italy in the inter-war period, China feels betrayed and humiliated, and seeks to avenge historic wounds.’
      • ‘I felt shocked, angry, betrayed and violated by the article.’
      • ‘Every time it rains, we look up at the sky and are shocked and betrayed.’
      • ‘Men fall in love with her, and she betrays and then dumps them.’
      • ‘But that does not betray my memory of my first husband or my love for him.’
      • ‘He had only seconds to look shocked and betrayed before everyone in the inn's common room jumped on them.’
      • ‘Anyone who votes for them is betraying the memory of all those who fought and died fighting the Nazis.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even as I wondered I felt like I'd betrayed the memory of someone I'd known forever.’
      • ‘She felt like she was cheating on Andy, like she was betraying his memory.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And if someone is disloyal, if someone betrays a trust, in Texas, they're right down there with child molesters and ax murderers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I don't feel abandoned or betrayed or even particularly left,’ she wrote me.’
      • ‘By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.’
      • ‘She told the court that upon reading the Mirror article she felt ‘shocked, angry, betrayed and violated’.’
      • ‘Because as you say, they feel very, very betrayed.’
      • ‘To be betrayed by Judas, deserted by all the disciples, and denied by Peter.’
      • ‘It is devoid of humble penitence and fails to acknowledge the sins and defects of the Catholic church that betray the reality and memory of Christ.’
      inform against, inform on
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  • 2Unintentionally reveal; be evidence of.

    ‘she drew a deep breath that betrayed her indignation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her pale face betrayed the greatness of the shock she had just been through.’
    • ‘‘Tell me we're not going where I think we're going,’ Dead-Eye asked, his voice betraying only mild interest.’
    • ‘Herod's face betrayed his shock and anger as he scooted his large body off his throne.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Only the subtle movement of one huge furry ear betrayed his interest in the exchange.’
    • ‘Katherine's face betrayed utter shock, then utter amusement.’
    • ‘Yet if the 25-year-old's words spoke of surprise, they should not have done; his voice betrayed modesty, not shock.’
    • ‘Just a slight tensing of the muscles, an infinitesimal straightening of the back, a tiny lift of the head, betrayed his sudden interest.’
    • ‘I queried, the look of puzzlement on my face betraying the fact that I hadn't a clue what he was talking about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chantal's response forced his eyes to betray his shock as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her face betrayed her shock and betrayal, her eyes filled with tears.’
    • ‘That this result has been a shock betrays the chasm between the top two divisions.’
    • ‘It does seem that The Times sometimes betrays what is likely the more liberal leanings of a lot of its staff.’
    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/