Legal Dictionary


Definition of betray


    Middle English betrayen, alt. of earlier bewrayen ("to betray"), from be- + wrayen ("to betray") (Modern English to expose) from Old English wrēġan ("to accuse, impeach"). Alteration influenced by Middle English traien ("to betray"), from Old French tra´r ("to betray"), from Latin trādere, present active infinitive of trādō ("I deliver, give over"). See traitor, treason, tradition. More at bewray.



to betray (third-person singular simple present betrays, present participle betraying, simple past and past participle betrayed)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To violate the confidence of, by disclosing a secret, or that which one is bound in honor not to make known.
  4. To disclose or discover, as something which prudence would conceal; to reveal unintentionally.
  5. To mislead; to expose to inconvenience not foreseen to lead into error or sin.
  6. To lead astray, as a maiden; to seduce (as under promise of marriage) and then abandon.
  7. To show or to indicate; -- said of what is not obvious at first, or would otherwise be concealed.

Derived terms


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex fori
2.     lex situs
3.     lex causae
4.     conclusive presumption
5.     AORO
6.     landed property
7.     lex domicilii
8.     Miranda warning
9.     lex loci delicti commissi
10.     Clayton's Case