fifth column

(redirected from fifth columns)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

fifth column

n.
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fifth column

n
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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

fifth′ col′umn


n.
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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Of course, making the range of our website broader runs the risk of being taken advantage of by the "fifth columns" such as spreaders of fake news.
BAGHDAD / National Iraqi News Agency / nina / The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that the heroine of our troops were advancing towards the city of Mosul from all axes and no retreat." He said during his visit to the military units in Bartella near Mosul today, that all axes are progressing and there is no retreat in the operations sectors," calling on everyone to caution and vigilance of fifth columns to distort the victories of our security forces and distorting facts on the ground.
"There are other countries that mobilised their media, embassies, agents and fifth columns in the Gulf.
Despite rumours about fifth columns in Saskatoon in 1940, no overt anti-German acts occurred.