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fifth columnist A traitor, quisling; a subversive or an enemy sympathizer. This term’s origin dates from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) when the Loyalist government in Madrid had been infiltrated by many Franco sympathizers. In a radio broadcast to the Loyalists, General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano y Sierro, a Fascist revolutionary, stated, “We have four columns on the battlefield against you, and a fifth column inside your ranks.”
Fifth Column is also the title of a play (1938) by Ernest Hemingway. During World War II, these expressions received widespread use, usually referring to revolutionary sympathizers who had secured positions of influence in matters of security and policy decision. These insurgents spread rumors and practised espionage and sabotage, exploiting the fears of the people and often inciting panic.
Parliament has given us the powers to put down the fifth column activities with a strong hand. (Winston Churchill, Into Battle, 1941)
Judas kiss A sign of betrayal, duplicity, or insincerity. The reference is to the kiss Judas Iscariot gave Jesus in betraying him to the authorities:
And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he. (Mark 14:44)
The term dates from as early as 1400.
Candour shone from his eyes, as insincere as a Judas kiss. (R. Lewis, Blood Money, 1973)
the most unkindest cut of all See ADVERSITY.
rat To inform or squeal; to desert and turn renegade, to bolt and join the opposition. The noun rat has been an opprobrious epithet since Elizabethan times. During the 18th century it took on, in political slang, the more specific denotation of traitor or turncoat. By the 19th century the corresponding verb usage appeared. It is generally believed that these slang meanings came by way of comparison with the apostate rats of the proverbial sinking ship, though the older more general ‘scoundrel’ meaning would suffice—rodents having long been objects of aversion and loathing to man.
scab A worker who resists union membership; a union member who refuses to strike. This disparaging expression likens the blue collar maverick to a pus-filled lesion. The epithet is often applied to an employee who crosses picket lines or more specifically, to a person who takes over the job of a striker for the duration of the work halt.
sell down the river To abandon or desert; to turn one’s back on another; to delude or take advantage of. This expression originated in the Old South, where uncooperative slaves were often punished by being shipped downstream to the harsh, sweltering plantations of the lower Mississippi. The phrase maintains regular usage today.
I think we are, as a people, a little inclined to sell our state down the river in our thinking. (Daily Ardmoreite[Ardmore, Oklahoma], December, 1949)
stool pigeon or stoolie A person who acts as a decoy; an informer, particularly one associated with the police. This expression is derived from the former practice of fastening a pigeon to a stool to attract other pigeons. Today the phrase usually refers to an informer who is betraying his cohorts.
In New York City he is also called a Stool-pigeon. The “profession” generally speaks of him as a Squealer. (Willard Flynt, World of Graft, 1901)
turncoat One who abandons his convictions or affiliations; an apostate or renegade. This expression purportedly originated with a ploy of Emanuel, an early duke of Savoy, whose strategic territory was precariously situated between France and Italy. According to legend, in order to maintain peace with his powerful neighbors, Emanuel had a reversible coat made which was white on one side and blue on the other. He wore the white side when dealing with the French and the blue side when dealing with the Italians. The duke was subsequently called Emanuel Turncoat, and the epithet attained its now familiar meaning of renegade or tergiversator.
The Tory who voted for those motions would run a great risk of being pointed at as a turncoat by the … Cavaliers. (Thomas Macaulay, History of England, 1855)
|Noun||1.||betrayal - an act of deliberate betrayal |
double cross, double-crossing - an act of betrayal; "he gave us the old double cross"; "I could no longer tolerate his impudent double-crossing"
sellout - an act of betrayal
|2.||betrayal - the quality of aiding an enemy|
disloyalty loyalty, devotion, allegiance, fidelity, constancy, faithfulness, trustworthiness, steadfastness, fealty, trustiness
giving away keeping, guarding, preserving, safeguarding, keeping secret
"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country" [E.M. Forster Two Cheers for Democracy]