Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To give aid or information to an enemy of; commit treason against: betray one's country.
  • transitive v. To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance: betrayed Christ to the Romans.
  • transitive v. To be false or disloyal to: betrayed their cause; betray one's better nature.
  • transitive v. To divulge in a breach of confidence: betray a secret.
  • transitive v. To make known unintentionally: Her hollow laugh betrayed her contempt for the idea.
  • transitive v. To reveal against one's desire or will.
  • transitive v. To lead astray; deceive. See Synonyms at deceive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To deliver into the hands of an enemy by treachery or fraud, in violation of trust; to give up treacherously or faithlessly; as, an officer betrayed the city.
  • v. To prove faithless or treacherous to, as to a trust or one who trusts; to be false to; to deceive; as, to betray a person or a cause.
  • v. To violate the confidence of, by disclosing a secret, or that which one is bound in honor not to make known.
  • v. To disclose or discover, as something which prudence would conceal; to reveal unintentionally; to bewray.
  • v. To mislead; to expose to inconvenience not foreseen to lead into error or sin.
  • v. To lead astray, as a maiden; to seduce (as under promise of marriage) and then abandon.
  • v. To show or to indicate; -- said of what is not obvious at first, or would otherwise be concealed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To deliver into the hands of an enemy by treachery or fraud, in violation of trust; to give up treacherously or faithlessly.
  • transitive v. To prove faithless or treacherous to, as to a trust or one who trusts; to be false to; to deceive.
  • transitive v. To violate the confidence of, by disclosing a secret, or that which one is bound in honor not to make known.
  • transitive v. To disclose or discover, as something which prudence would conceal; to reveal unintentionally.
  • transitive v. To mislead; to expose to inconvenience not foreseen to lead into error or sin.
  • transitive v. To lead astray, as a maiden; to seduce (as under promise of marriage) and then abandon.
  • transitive v. To show or to indicate; -- said of what is not obvious at first, or would otherwise be concealed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To deliver to, or expose to the power of, an enemy by treachery or disloyalty: as, an officer betrayed the city.
  • To violate by fraud or unfaithfulness; be unfaithful in keeping or upholding: as, to betray a trust.
  • To act treacherously to; be disloyal to; disappoint the hopes or expectations of.
  • To deceive; beguile; mislead; seduce.
  • To reveal or disclose in violation of confidence; make known through breach of faith or obligation: as, to betray a person's secrets or designs.
  • To show in true character; allow to be seen; permit to appear in spite of will or desire.
  • To indicate; give indication or evidence of: said of something not obvious at first view, or that would otherwise be concealed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. reveal unintentionally
  • v. give away information about somebody
  • v. be sexually unfaithful to one's partner in marriage
  • v. deliver to an enemy by treachery
  • v. disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake
  • v. cause someone to believe an untruth

Etymologies

Middle English bitrayen : bi-, be- + trayen, to betray (from Old French trair, from Latin trādere, to hand over; see tradition).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English betrayen, betraien, equivalent to be- +‎ tray (“to betray”), from Old French traïr ("to commit treason, betray"), from Latin trādere, present active infinitive of trādō ("deliver, give over", v). In some senses, merged with or influenced by Middle English bewraien, bewreyen ("to reveal, divulge"), see bewray. Compare also traitor, treason, tradition. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What it again seems to betray is the notion that fiction is much like film, only a little bit different, affording the opportunity to make explicit what in LaBute's films is implicit.

    Realism in Fiction

  • The specific language of the ad uses the word betray, rather than traitor.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Reaction to the MoveOn.Org “General Betray Us” Ad:

  • She didn't look as nervous as he felt, nor did her expression betray what she was thinking as she approached him.

    Message in a Bottle

  • The reasons lie deep in our compound nature, being probably inarticulate; and our action in a fragmentary way betrays our moral disposition: betrays it in both senses of the word betray, now revealing it unawares, and now sadly disappointing it.

    Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy Five Essays

  • Whatever the case, using "betray" -- a word associated with treason -- recalls the ugly McCarthy era, when for too many Republicans dissent corresponded with disloyalty.

    Richard Cohen Brings On the Stupid

  • And before his expression could betray him, he slipped out the door and back to the first-year corridor.

    KNIGHTLEY ACADEMY

  • Even when John Leguizamo and Boring Whatsisname betray each other, it's with a manly hug.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • His flat options for a title further betray his depression: he toyed with “Imitating the Equator,” “Another Innocent Abroad,” “The Latest,” and “The Surviving Innocent Abroad”; not until July did he decide on Following the Equator and its faintly redundant subtitle, A Journey Around the World.

    Mark Twain

  • Once or twice as they talked a woman's subdued voice had reached the Dutchman's ears from behind the thick curtains, but he knew too much to let any expression betray him, and he smiled grimly to himself at the thought of the change that an indiscreet question would bring to the stern face of his grave and impassive host.

    The Sheik

  • The forms, draperies, grandeur, and often the energy of expression betray the action of Montagna, but the order of his altar-pieces, their harmonious symmetry, and the beauty of their colouring recall Giovanni Bellini or Carpaccio.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

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Comments

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  • hintergehen= betray a friend when you tell a secret

    May 27, 2009