quis·​ling ˈkwiz-liŋ How to pronounce quisling (audio)
often attributive
quislingism noun

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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.

Examples of quisling in a Sentence

warned that all quislings would be punished without mercy
Recent Examples on the Web Erdogan, meanwhile, lambasted Kilicdaroglu as a quisling who is in cahoots with the West and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish separatist group that both Ankara and Washington consider a terrorist entity. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2023 And Kilicdaroglu was an easy mark for Erdogan, who has belittled him for years and cast him during the campaign as both a terrorist and a quisling for Western interests — accusations that stuck in the minds of some voters. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, 27 May 2023 This may sound like a technical squabble among quislings. David Z. Morris, Slate Magazine, 6 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quisling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Vidkun Quisling †1945 Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quisling was in 1940


Dictionary Entries Near quisling

Cite this Entry

“Quisling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quisling. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


quis·​ling ˈkwiz-liŋ How to pronounce quisling (audio)
: one who helps the invaders of one's own country

named for Vidkun Quisling 1887–1945, a Norwegian politician who helped the German invaders in World War II

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