fifth column

Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to fifth column: fifth estate

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 ?
We shouldnt let the fifth column get a single benefit on the future presidential, parliamentary and local elections, the Head of State emphasized.
4m 'leave' voters and now you've been joined by a fifth column of Tory Quislings who will undermine the Brexit negotiations at every turn.
The Opposition's duty is not to act as a fifth column and undermine our chance of getting a good deal impoverishing us all.
According to the report, Doha authorities also naturalised up to 20,000 Houthis for using them as a fifth column to destabilise Saudi Arabia.
Iran-backed fifth column joined Qatari conspiracy against Bahrain.
The fifth column in World War II: Suspected subversives in the Pacific War and Australia
He said, "Indian media is the fifth column and not the fourth pillar of democracy.
Aden, Rajab 23, 1438, April 20, 2017, SPA -- The assassination of Brigadier Wadah Al-Shahtari, the nephew of the ousted Saleh, and the director of security in Al-Mahweet province, Brigadier Saleh Abdul Ghani, in an ambush yesterday came in response to the threat launched by Al-Houthi rebel leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi to eliminate what he called the fifth column of the ousted Saleh and General People's Congress, its partner in the coup; a number of observers asserted that ousted Saleh is unable to respond to this action.
Historians were quoted by local media as saying that the Mihrab facing the first Qibla was at the end of the mosque, from the northern side opposite the Othman gate and next to the fifth column, and to the north at Ayesha's column.
Katso, CEO of Fifth Column Capital, LLC stated that "$23,000,000.
The action came after Erdoy-an accused the academics and intellectuals of being a fifth column of foreign powers, after they declared in the declaration that the state's forces are carrying out a massacre in civilian areas in the Southeast.
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.