I've seen some movies in which a king tells someone that he betrayed him.

But when a man betrays his wife, the wife doesn't say "You betrayed me".
She says "You cheated on me".

Why? What's the difference between "cheating on someone" and "betraying someone"?


There are no hard and fast rules in these cases. Both words can be used by either party and be entirely correct. Betrayed is a stronger statement of deception than cheating and a deceived wife can well say she was betrayed. A king who was swindled at cards could quite rightly say he was cheated rather than betrayed.


Both words refer to dishonest acts, perhaps even the same act, but portray the act in different light. To betray means to violate loyalty. To cheat means to gain an advantage by dishonesty and guile.

If a king tells his minister "You have betrayed me." he means that the minister has committed a gross violation of his duty to his king. If however he says "You have cheated me." he means that the minister has tricked him to gain some advantage, perhaps in a personal matter such as the sale of a horse.

Adultery is both. It is a betrayal because it is a violation of the principle of loyalty to one mate. It is cheating because of the stealth and deception with which it is usually accomplished. Both expressions can be and are used, though the second may be more idiomatic at the moment.


I am not a native speaker so be cautious. I think betrayal have a more personal meaning (That's why it is stronger as stated by tom). Cheating is more objective and neutral; you cheat when you break some rule or convention, even if it was expected. But that doesn't apply for betrayal, if it was expected then it wasn't a betrayal.


betryal is some thing about life. the stab is in back and deep.... cheating is dishonest intention and swindling of funds. it is not as sharp or deep as betrayal. in a betrayal.... victims may some times die

  • 3
    This is dramatic and philosophical, but if you don't provide references, or dictionary citations, it may seem like your own opinion. Material that can be challenged and removed. Welcome to the site BTW! – It's Over May 18 '17 at 17:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.