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

  • n. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
  • n. A betrayal of trust or confidence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The crime of betraying one’s own country.
  • n. Providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance, or of betraying the state into the hands of a foreign power; disloyalty; treachery.
  • n. Loosely, the betrayal of any trust or confidence; treachery; perfidy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A betraying; treachery; breach of faith.
  • n. Specifically—2. Violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or liege lord, or to the chief authority of the state.
  • n. Synonyms See perfidious.

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

  • n. a crime that undermines the offender's government
  • n. disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior
  • n. an act of deliberate betrayal


Middle English, from Anglo-Norman treson, from Latin trāditiō, trāditiōn-, a handing over; see tradition.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English tresoun, treison, from Anglo-Norman treson, from Old French traïson ("treason"), from Latin trāditiōnem, accusative of trāditiō ("a giving up, handing over, surrender, delivery, tradition"), from trādō ("give up, hand over, deliver over, betray", v), from trāns (“over, across”) +‎  (“give”). (Wiktionary)



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