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Webster 1913 Edition


Treason

Trea′son

,
Noun.
[OE.
tresun
,
treisun
,
traisoun
, OF.
traïson
, F.
trahison
, L.
traditio
a giving up, a delivering up, fr.
tradere
to give up, betray. See
Traitor
, and cf.
Tradition
.]
1.
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.
The
treason
of the murthering in the bed.
Chaucer.
☞ In monarchies, the killing of the sovereign, or an attempt to take his life, is treason. In England, to imagine or compass the death of the king, or of the queen consort, or of the heir apparent to the crown, is high treason, as are many other offenses created by statute. In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or to an adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
2.
Loosely, the betrayal of any trust or confidence; treachery; perfidy.
If he be false, she shall his
treason
see.
Chaucer.
Petit treason
.
See under
Petit
.

Webster 1828 Edition


Treason

TREASON

,
Noun.
tree'zn. [L. traho. See Draw and Drag.]
Treason is the highest crime of a civil nature of which a man can be guilty. Its signification is different in different countries. In general, it is 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. In monarchies, the killing of the king, or an attempt to take his life, is treason. In England, to imagine or compass the death of the king, or of the prince, or of the queen consort, or of the heir apparent of the crown, is high treason; as are many other offenses created by statute.
In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
Treason in Great Britain, is of two kinds, high treason and petit treason. High treason is a crime that immediately affects the king or state; such as the offenses just enumerated. Petit treason involves a breach of fidelity, but affects individuals. Thus for a wife to kill her husband, a servant his master or lord, or an ecclesiastic his lord or ordinary, is petit treason. But in the United States this crime is unknown; the killing in the latter cases being murder only.

Definition 2022


treason

treason

English

Noun

treason (countable and uncountable, plural treasons)

  1. The crime of betraying one’s own country.
    • 1613, John Harington, “Book iv, Epigram 5”, in Alcilia:
      Treason doth never prosper. What's the reason? Why, if it doth, then none dare call it treason.
    • 1952, James Avery Joyce: Justice At Work: (this edition Pan 1957) Page 105.
      Formerly, the punishment for high treason was of a most barbarous character…. Women were burnt. A male traitor was dragged or drawn to the place of execution and hanged; but while still alive, he was cut down and disembowelled. His head was then severed from his body which was quartered. The head and quarters, which were at the Kings disposal, were usually exposed in some conspicuous place—the Temple Bar being a favourite spot—after being boiled in salt to prevent putrification and in cumin seed to prevent birds feasting on them.
  2. Providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

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External links

  • treason in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • treason in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

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