I'm looking for a more formal term used to describe ratting:

A verb intransitive identified as slang meaning to betray one's comrade by giving information on a friend to the authorities.

Specifically, I want to know what word would appear in a court document? Should "ratting" be included in criminal proceedings?

Is there any formal word I can use for 'ratting'?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Drew, tchrist, Mitch, Hellion Aug 19 '14 at 21:56

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  • 1
    Please say where you found your definition – Matt E. Эллен Aug 18 '14 at 12:12
  • My definition is an amalgamation of answers from Yahoo Answers and Google search results, as it is a slang word not found in dictionaries. – Othya Aug 18 '14 at 12:14
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "court documents", but it's unlikely anything like that would need to use such "loaded" terms (informal rat, grass, finger, formal betray, expose, etc.). But it's General Reference that ratting is slang, and that betrayal (as implied by OP's cited definition) is a "formal" alternative. – FumbleFingers Aug 18 '14 at 12:20
  • What I mean by 'court documents', is if ratting were illegal and specified in the criminal code - what word would it appear as. Betrayal is a good one, and may be the best one - but ratting is more specific to betraying a friend by 'telling on him'. Betrayal can mean many more things. – Othya Aug 18 '14 at 12:40
  • Try a thesaurus: denounce,... – Drew Aug 18 '14 at 15:33

If you have got to the stage of court documents, it may have reached the point where the informant has turned Queen's Evidence

  1. (English law) (when the sovereign is female) evidence given for the Crown against his or her former associates in crime by an accomplice (esp in the phrase turn queen's evidence) Also called (when the sovereign is male) king's evidence. US equivalent state's evidence [Collins English Dictionary via Dictionary.com]

but that would only be the case if criminal proceedings where in hand.


In the UK at least, police call associates of criminals who report things to the police informants. So the action would be informing. From ODO:

Give incriminating information about someone to the police or other authority


I've found the best alternative to ratting someone out is the word denounce.

Denounce, according to The Free Dictionary, means to formally accuse someone of wrongdoing, or condemn them as reprehensible.

He denounced the man in open court, and the court motioned to convict.

  • I wouldn't use this one, as ratting is a secretive thing, where as denouncing tends to be public. – Matt E. Эллен Aug 18 '14 at 14:00

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