Learn 20 Expressions Related to Betrayal

Betrayal, a theme as old as human relationships themselves, often finds its way into our conversations and stories. It’s a complex emotion that encompasses deception, disappointment, and treachery. To express these intense feelings, we use various phrases and idioms that capture the essence of betrayal vividly. This blog post explores 20 such expressions, each succinctly explained and illustrated with an example, enhancing your understanding and usage of the language of deceit.

Expressions Related to Betrayal

1. Stab someone in the back

Meaning: To betray someone who trusts you.

Example: He felt stabbed in the back when his friend revealed his secrets.

2. Betray the trust

Meaning: To do something that breaks the trust someone has in you.

Example: She betrayed the trust of her team by leaking information.

3. Sell someone out

Meaning: To betray someone for personal gain.

Example: He sold out his colleague for a promotion.

4. Turn one’s back on

Meaning: To abandon or betray someone.

Example: He turned his back on his friends when they needed him most.

5. Play Judas

Meaning: To betray someone in a significant and impactful way.

Example: He played Judas by testifying against his own family.

6. Two-faced

Meaning: Showing one thing but believing another, leading to betrayal.

Example: She was two-faced, smiling to my face but criticizing me behind my back.

7. Cross the floor

Meaning: To change sides or allegiances, especially in politics, in a way that is considered treacherous.

Example: The senator crossed the floor, betraying his party.

8. Wolf in sheep’s clothing

Meaning: Someone who pretends to be harmless but is actually treacherous.

Example: He seemed kind, but was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

9. Throw someone under the bus

Meaning: To sacrifice someone else to save or benefit oneself.

Example: In the meeting, she threw her team under the bus to save her job.

10. False friend

Meaning: A friend who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.

Example: He discovered too late that his advisor was a false friend.

11. Pull the rug out from under

Meaning: To suddenly remove support from someone, betraying them.

Example: They pulled the rug out from under him by cancelling the project.

12. Show one’s true colors

Meaning: To reveal one’s true nature, especially when it’s negative or deceitful.

Example: She showed her true colors when the situation got tough.

13. Behind someone’s back

Meaning: To do something secretly or without someone’s knowledge, betraying them.

Example: They negotiated behind his back.

14. Bite the hand that feeds

Meaning: To harm someone who has been helping you.

Example: He bit the hand that feeds by suing the company that employed him.

15. Burn bridges

Meaning: To act in a way that destroys relationships, often permanently.

Example: He burned bridges with his comments about the board.

16. Double-cross

Meaning: To deceive someone who trusts you, especially in a deal or plot.

Example: The deal was a setup, and he was double-crossed.

17. Snake in the grass

Meaning: A person who pretends to be your friend while secretly acting against you.

Example: Be careful of him; he’s a snake in the grass.

18. Kick someone when they are down

Meaning: To make someone’s situation worse when they are already struggling.

Example: Criticizing her now would just be kicking her when she’s down.

19. Play both sides

Meaning: To support both sides in a conflict to maximize one’s own benefit, often secretly.

Example: He was caught playing both sides in the negotiations.

20. Give with one hand, take away with the other

Meaning: To present something positive but then take it back or undermine it.

Example: The policy seemed beneficial, but it was a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

Expressions Related to Betrayal