turn·​coat | \ ˈtərn-ˌkōt How to pronounce turncoat (audio) \

Definition of turncoat

: one who switches to an opposing side or party specifically : traitor

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Examples of turncoat in a Sentence

the plot of the story revolved around the gangster's relentless determination to learn the identity of the turncoat
Recent Examples on the Web For a long time, Serena swayed back and forth between cruel accomplice and potential turncoat. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 26 May 2021 The bill picked up three Democratic votes in the Senate (including eventual veto-override turncoat Senator Paul Lowe) and eight Democratic votes in the House. Terry Stoops, National Review, 5 Mar. 2021 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was also one of Trump’s most reliable backers and defenders; he, too, is being attacked as a turncoat. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 6 Jan. 2021 Such a breach of trust would be almost as bad as a turncoat anti-Biden mole seeking to resist presidential directives. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 24 Dec. 2020 Chow and his volunteers scoffed at his efforts to pitch himself as a moderate and said his running mate, once a radical political student, was a turncoat. Timothy Mclaughlin, Wired, 17 Sep. 2020 Amy Kennedy, whose father-in-law is Ted Kennedy, is vying to oust turncoat Rep. Jeff Van Drew on Nov. 3. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 1 Sep. 2020 After all, hardly a news cycle goes by these days without at least one dynastic turncoat or class defector breaking ranks. Horacio Silva, Town & Country, 4 Aug. 2020 But Lundergan's defense lawyers slammed Hurst as a turncoat for turning on his former mentor to avoid prosecution. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, 21 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'turncoat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of turncoat

1557, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for turncoat

Time Traveler

The first known use of turncoat was in 1557

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Statistics for turncoat

Last Updated

28 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turncoat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turncoat. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of turncoat

disapproving : a person who stops being a member of a group in order to join another group that opposes it

More from Merriam-Webster on turncoat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for turncoat

Nglish: Translation of turncoat for Spanish Speakers


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