Treason vs betrayal

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Gautier51

Senior Member
French
Is there a difference between treason and betrayal ?

It seems to me that treason is used in the context of law and that betrayal in more general. Am I right ?
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Treason is indeed an offence under English law. It has been a capital offence since 1351 and includes essentially helping one's own nation's enemies (so a French person can't be accused of treason against Britain). However it includes such miscellaneous offences as arson in the royal dockyards and raping the queen or female heir to the throne.

    Betrayal, fortunately, is far less dramatic.
     

    LART01

    Senior Member
    French-France
    Treason is indeed an offence under English law. It has been a capital offence since 1351 and includes essentially helping one's own nation's enemies (so a French person can't be accused of treason against Britain). However it includes such miscellaneous offences as arson in the royal dockyards and raping the queen or female heir to the throne.

    Betrayal, fortunately, is far less dramatic.
    I guess in that context it would be referred in french as "haute trahison"
    A good way to compare both notions
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    In fact what Keith has described was historically called "high treason", but in English the other uses of the word treason (which originally had the same meanings as trahison) have disappeared, and so treason has come to mean "haute trahison" only.
     

    carolmoraiss

    Banned
    Portuguese
    But what can be considered betrayal, is it the same as "disloyalty"?

    If you accuse a president of treason and betrayal, should I assume that betrayal is a synonym of disloyalty? He was not loyal to his nation, for example...
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It might be easier with examples. Let's say a president allowed a rival country access to military secrets - that would be treason. He might also break his election promises (to reduce unemployment, build more schools, or whatever) - that would be betrayal but not treason. A president can betray his electorate without betraying his country. Treason is if you like a subset of betrayal
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Agree with Glas: 'treason' is a legal definition of 'betrayal of one's country'. (We also say, "to betray one's oath".)
     
    Last edited:

    carolmoraiss

    Banned
    Portuguese
    I see, it's because, in Portuguese, treason and betrayal are translated into the same word, except that treason is translated into "high treason". So we have "traição" and "alta traição"; so I was trying to find a synonym for betrayal, and I thought that disloyalty would be a good one. Well, if you have any other words upon your sleeve, I'd be more than glad to hear them...
     
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