fifth columnist

fifth column

noun
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: so called in allusion to a statement in 1936 that the insurgents had four columns marching on Madrid and a fifth column of sympathizers in the city ready to rise and betray it.

fifth columnist, noun
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World English Dictionary
fifth column
 
n
1.  (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 & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Cultural Dictionary

fifth column definition


People willing to cooperate with an aggressor against their own country. The term originated in a remark by Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator, that he was marching on Madrid with four columns of troops, and that there was a “fifth column” of sympathizers within the city ready to help.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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