Wednesday Word for June 24, 2020

Today’s word comes from the news.

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Today’s Word

Part of Speech

noun, often attributive

Definition

  1. A person who betrays his or her own country by aiding an invading enemy, often serving later in a puppet government; fifth columnist.
  2. Traitor.
  3. Collaborator.

History

This word was first used in 1940 as meaning a traitor. Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian army officer who in 1933 founded Norway’s fascist party. In December 1939, he met with Adolf Hitler and urged him to occupy Norway. Following the German invasion of April 1940, Quisling served as a figurehead in the puppet government set up by the German occupation forces, and his linguistic fate was sealed. Before the end of 1940, “quisling” was being used generically in English to refer to any traitor. Winston Churchill, George Orwell, and H. G. Wells used it in their wartime writings. Quisling lived to see his name thus immortalized, but not much longer. He was executed for treason soon after the liberation of Norway in 1945.

~quisling

Synonyms

betrayer, traitor, turncoat

Usage and Examples

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Jack’s staff thought of him as a quisling, a nuisance, and a dangerous man to have in office.
  • The aim of the meeting was to assemble a quisling regime after the invasion.

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