Definitions for fifth column

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word fifth column

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

fifth′ col′umn(n.)

  1. a group of people who act traitorously and subversively out of a secret sympathy with an enemy of their country.

    Category: Government

  2. (originally) Franco sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War: the insurgents had four columns marching on Madrid and a “fifth column” of supporters already in the city.

    Category: Government

fifth′ col′umnist(n.)

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fifth column, Trojan horse(noun)

    a subversive group that supports the enemy and engages in espionage or sabotage; an enemy in your midst


  1. fifth column(Noun)

    A group of people which clandestinely undermines a larger group, such as a nation, to which it is expected to be loyal.


  1. Fifth column

    A fifth column is a group of people who undermine a larger group, such as a nation or a besieged city, from within. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize when coordination with an external attack requires and extend even to uniformed military operations as part of a coordinated campaign. They can be clandestine, involving acts of sabotage, disinformation campaigns, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.


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