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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce turncoat (audio)

Dictionary definition of turncoat

A person who changes their loyalty or allegiance, especially in a political or military context.
"The politician was criticized as a turncoat for switching parties."

Detailed meaning of turncoat

A turncoat is someone who betrays their former associates, principles, or cause and joins the opposing side. The term has a negative connotation and suggests that the person is untrustworthy, deceitful, and lacking in principle. In political contexts, a turncoat may switch parties or change their stance on an issue, often for personal gain or for reasons that are perceived as opportunistic. In military contexts, a turncoat may desert or change sides during a conflict, which can have serious consequences for their former comrades. The term "turncoat" is often used to criticize and condemn those who are seen as having betrayed a cause, and it can have lasting negative consequences for the reputation and credibility of the individual.

Example sentences containing turncoat

1. The turncoat betrayed his comrades and joined the enemy forces.
2. The spy was revealed as a turncoat when classified information leaked.
3. The politician was accused of being a turncoat after switching parties.
4. The turncoat's actions caused chaos within the organization.
5. She never trusted him again after discovering he was a turncoat.
6. The turncoat's motives for switching sides remained a mystery.

History and etymology of turncoat

The noun 'turncoat' has its etymological origins in the late Middle Ages and is rooted in the concept of changing one's clothing. It is a compound word formed by combining 'turn' and 'coat.' In medieval times, 'turncoat' was used to describe a person who changed sides or allegiances, especially in a political or military context. The term metaphorically likened this change in loyalty to the act of turning one's coat inside out, revealing a different color or emblem, thereby indicating a shift in allegiance. 'Turncoat' is a pejorative term, suggesting disloyalty or betrayal. Its etymology underscores the historical association with the act of changing outward signs of allegiance, reflecting a person's shift in loyalty or principles.

Quiz: Find the meaning of turncoat

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Further usage examples of turncoat

1. The turncoat's treachery shook the foundation of the rebellion.
2. The army general was branded a turncoat for siding with the invaders.
3. The turncoat's double-agent status was finally exposed.
4. The spy was a turncoat who betrayed his country for money.
5. The former ally was now seen as a turncoat by his former partners.
6. The general was a turncoat who switched sides during the war.
7. The community leader was called a turncoat for his support of the enemy.
8. The insider was revealed as a turncoat who leaked sensitive information.
9. The athlete was a turncoat who left the team for a better offer.
10. The traitor was labeled a turncoat for his act of treachery.
11. The lawyer was a turncoat who switched from defense to prosecution.
12. The activist was a turncoat who abandoned his cause for personal gain.
13. The historian was accused of being a turncoat for changing his views.
14. The former friend was seen as a turncoat for his betrayal of the group.

Discipline and Self-Control, Denial and Defiance, Division and Separation, Followers and Loyalty


traitor, loyalist, faithful, patriot



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