Definition of trahison des clercs in English:

trahison des clercs

Pronunciation /träˌēˌzôn dā ˈklār//trāˌzän dā ˈklərk/


  • A betrayal of intellectual, artistic, or moral standards by writers, academics, or artists.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet, amid all the sound and fury, the most contemptible phenomenon is the trahison des clercs.’
    • ‘Half the contributors to this book are British or British colonials, and all of them have the same grim story to tell - the story, in a nutshell, of le trahison des clercs.’
    • ‘Despite the outcry from teachers now, there has been a trahison des clercs.’
    • ‘There has certainly been a trahison des clercs.’
    • ‘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.’
    disloyalty, treachery, perfidy, perfidiousness, bad faith, faithlessness, falseness
    View synonyms


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


trahison des clercs

/träˌēˌzôn dā ˈklār//trāˌzän dā ˈklərk/