useful idiot

noun
plural useful idiots

Definition of useful idiot

: 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

First Known Use of useful idiot

1864, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of useful idiot was in 1864

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Dictionary Entries Near useful idiot

useful

useful idiot

useful life

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Cite this Entry

“Useful idiot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/useful%20idiot. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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