Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

betray - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     betray pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlebetraying
past tensebetrayed
past participlebetrayed
  1. 1
    if you betray your country, or if you betray someone who needs your support, you deliberately do something that harms them or helps their opponents

    She realized that one of her friends must have betrayed her.

    1. a.
      if you betray someone’s trust, you do harm to them when they have trusted you

      They felt their assistant had betrayed their trust in publishing his diaries.

  2. 2
    if you betray your beliefs or principles, you do something that does not agree with them

    She had betrayed all her beliefs and told a lie.

  3. 3
    to show something or give a sign of something

    Rabbits betray their presence with fresh soil outside their burrow.

    1. a.
      if you betray a feeling or quality that you want to hide or that you are not aware of, your words or face make it clear to people

      His comments betray a lack of understanding.

    2. b.
      if you betray a secret, you tell it to people who do not have the right to know it

derived word


noun [countable]
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play