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quisling

Printable Version Pronunciation: kwiz-ling Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A traitor or collaborator.

Notes: No, not a small quiz but a full-grown person who collaborates with the enemy. Surprisingly, this word has developed a relatively large family of derivations since 1945 (see Word History). Quislingite refers to an actual follower of Vidkun Quisling, someone who worked in his government. Quislingist functions either as an adjective meaning "like a quisling, traitorous" or a noun meaning "a follower of Quisling".

In Play: Since this word emerged during World War II, it is most widely associated with that war: "After World War II the Eastern European nations fell under the control of quisling Communist governments." However, we don't have to be at war to have minor quislings: "That quisling Gladys Friday takes management's side in all disputes."

Word History: The eponym of today's Good Word is the surname of Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), son of a Church of Norway pastor who became a Norwegian fascist politician. Quisling headed the puppet government during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. Quisling condemned Kristallnacht but willingly took part in the Final Solution. He was executed for treason after the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. (We owe our gratitude to Eric Berntson for revealing to us his knowledge of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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