What Does The Term "Turncoat" Mean?


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Christopher Adam Profile
The term "turncoat" functions as a noun and refers to a person who is either disloyal, or prone to betrayal. In contemporary society, a turncoat usually refers to someone who switches political parties and allegiances, in order to obtain any number of advantages, or to avoid any potential disadvantages associated with membership in the given group. For example, a Member of Parliament who switches from the Conservative Party to Labour, because he is offered a job as a government minister could certainly be labelled a turncoat.

The term "turncoat" is a very expressive word in the English language and it is believed to have originated thanks to the actions of an early Duke of Saxony. The duke was said to have had a coat of two colours. The inside of the coat was blue, while the outside was white. Whenever his goal was to please the French, the duke would wear the white on the outside. The term "turncoat" is also used in French and it appears as "tourne-côte."

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