useful idiot

noun

plural useful idiots
: a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda
It is one task of the KGB [in 1982] to apply its skills of secrecy and deception to projecting the Soviet party's influence. This it does through contacts with legal Communist Parties abroad, with groups sympathetic to Soviet goals, with do-gooders of the type that Lenin once described as "useful idiots" … .The Wall Street Journal

Word History

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of useful idiot was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near useful idiot

Cite this Entry

“Useful idiot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/useful%20idiot. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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