Word of the Day – Quisling

Word of the Day : February 3, 2021


noun KWIZ-ling


 one who commits treason : traitorcollaborator

Did You Know?

Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian army officer who in 1933 founded Norway’s fascist party. In December 1939, he met with Adolf Hitler and urged him to occupy Norway. Following the German invasion of April 1940, Quisling served as a figurehead in the puppet government set up by the German occupation forces, and his linguistic fate was sealed. Before the end of 1940, quisling was being used generically in English to refer to any traitor. Winston Churchill, George Orwell, and H. G. Wells used it in their wartime writings. Quisling lived to see his name thus immortalized, but not much longer. He was executed for treason soon after the liberation of Norway in 1945.


“Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the ‘quisling‘ to the resistance of the patriot.” — J. R. R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” 1947

“The episode centres around a fictitious scene in which Mountbatten confronts Prince Charles over his pursuit of married Camilla Parker Bowles. During the robust exchange with Mountbatten, the Prince of Wales hits back, describing him as a ‘quisling‘….” — Rodney Edwards, The Independent (Ireland), 22 Nov. 2020