fifth column

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fifth column

A clandestine subversive organization working within a country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims.

[First applied in 1936 to rebel sympathizers inside Madrid when four columns of rebel troops were attacking that city.]

fifth col′um·nism (kŏl′əm-nĭz′əm) n.
fifth columnist n.

fifth column

1. (Historical Terms) (originally) a group of Falangist sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War who were prepared to join the four columns of insurgents marching on the city
2. any group of hostile or subversive infiltrators; an enemy in one's midst
fifth columnist n

fifth′ col′umn

1. a group of people who act traitorously and subversively out of a secret sympathy with an enemy of their country.
2. (originally) Franco sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War: the insurgents had four columns marching on Madrid and a “fifth column” of supporters already in the city.
fifth′ col′umnist, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fifth column - a subversive group that supports the enemy and engages in espionage or sabotagefifth column - a subversive group that supports the enemy and engages in espionage or sabotage; an enemy in your midst
social unit, unit - an organization regarded as part of a larger social group; "the coach said the offensive unit did a good job"; "after the battle the soldier had trouble rejoining his unit"
fifth columnist, saboteur - a member of a clandestine subversive organization who tries to help a potential invader
References in periodicals archive ?
Defense lawyers claimed that their clients had been defending themselves from "a fifth column that entered the war and played its game in assaulting the Army, to hit the reputation of Tripoli.
They always were Capitalism's fifth column in Labour's ranks.
The fifth column - a brief description of the point (eg .
The sons of Arsal are very conscious of any fifth column and they are all with the Lebanese army," he stressed.
This week we particularly welcome Bridge House Mission which supports homeless people in Stockton-on-Tees, Lister Housing Co-operative Ltd in Edinburgh, First Step Trust in London which helps disadvantaged people back to work, Eco-Klean carpet cleaners in Wiltshire, the national body Royal Town Planning Institute, textiles specialist Thomas Kneale & Co Ltd in Manchester, London T-shirt printers Fifth Column Ltd, Hegarty Solicitors in Peterborough and Stamford, Kilpatrick Blane window control specialists in Inverclyde, Scotland, and Witherby marine publishers in Livingstone, Scotland.
If it tells them that terrorists from the Islamic State group came to Russia in order to blow up the fifth column, they'll believe it.
Fourth, the agreement creates a powerful fifth column inside Ukraine as the Donbass will have the right to be represented in Ukraine's legislature.
But beyond greater military action against extremism, Pakistan needs to create a new, more inclusive identity in which Shias and other non–Sunnis are seen as an integral part of the state – not some kind of fifth column.
According to him, only Moscow's fifth column could support this project and all progressive Bulgarians must support EU's opinion on the matter.
NIGEL Farage's Kippers have been ripping into the Tories at Birmingham, two defections, party funders crossing the line and nervous rumours that there is a fifth column of UKIP collaborators operating in the party.
Those who marched with flags of the Palestinian Authority demanding that it not give up on the right of return, are a fifth column whose aim is the destruction of Israel," he told army radio.
Here is a guaranteed way to rid ourselves of this fifth column.