The word quisling is a humorous synonym for traitor, especially in reference to someone who collaborates with an invading army. The term is named after an actual person, Vidkun Quisling, who was a key collaborator in Nazi Germany's puppet government in Norway. It was first used in an April 1940 article in the London Times titled "Quislings Everywhere", which said that" to writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor... they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous." And the word caught on! Since then, it's been used in everything from Looney Tunes cartoons to Irish nationalist songs, and it's even been back-formed to the verb quisle. Quisling's name means "one from Kvislemark", a small town in Denmark.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.