Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Word of the day

Quisling. It means "traitor".
after Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling, who assisted Nazi Germany to conquer his own country and ruled the collaborationist Norwegian government, is a term used to describe traitors and collaborators. It was most commonly used for fascist political parties and military and paramilitary forces in occupied Allied countries which collaborated with Axis occupiers in World War II, as well as for their members and other collaborators.

The term was coined by the British newspaper The Times on 15 April, 1940, entitled "Quislings everywhere." The editorial asserted: "To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor... they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Actually it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous."

2 comments:

DP said...

Great word. I remember my mother getting rather irritated with me for using it during some word game (Scrabble?) we were playing back when I was a teen.

The young fogey said...

It is a good hissing word for that meaning but as a WWII revisionist I wonder if history is entirely fair to him. He wasn't a Nazi - literally; the Norwegian Nazi Party and his National Union Party were separate - but a would-be Franco or Salazar. (In the ’30s fascism was fashionable; Oswald Mosley had his following in Britain. BTW Quisling liked the British and didn't want war with them.) He was sincerely religious like Franco too: his father was a Lutheran pastor. The only difference is the Germans violated Norwegian neutrality and invaded because they needed the seacoast for bases and didn't invade Spain or Portugal. If the Germans had treated Norway like that either the Norwegians would have voted him out or he would have been supported by the US government in the 1950s as a bulwark against Communism like Franco, Salazar, the Shah and South American and Asian dictators.