Definition of fifth column in English:
A group within a country at war who are sympathetic to or working for its enemies.
- While thus ‘raising public awareness,’ Congress was being lobbied for legislation to confront the threat from this enemy within: the fifth column in the ivory tower.
- Democratic governments played on the fear of a fifth column within in order to bolster the national purpose.
- The creation of a potential fifth column within the organization makes the duties of members of the audit committee far more onerous than before, with no relief in sight.
- Example sentences
- Insurrectionists, traitors and fifth columnists were a feature of our political landscape.
- One of the main themes is the threat posed by fifth columnists, and Fred, despite his admirable single-mindedness, is dangerously naïve in his dealings with strangers.
- Does Ms. West not think such fifth columnists exist?
Pronunciation: /ˈˌfi(f)TH ˈkäləmnəst/noun
The term dates from the Spanish Civil War, when General Mola, leading four columns of troops toward Madrid, declared that he had a fifth column inside the city.
Definition of fifth column in:
- British & World English dictionary
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