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[turn-koht] /ˈtɜrnˌkoʊt/
a person who changes to the opposite party or faction, reverses principles, etc.; renegade.
Origin of turncoat
First recorded in 1550-60; turn + coat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for turncoat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Which is another reason for general GS enmity: the turncoat syndrome.

    Attrition Jim Wannamaker
  • If he has once been a turncoat, he will be a turncoat again.

    Temporal Power Marie Corelli
  • It needs more than the zeal of a turncoat to drive Apollo out of Parnassus.

  • He who passes over from one party to another is at once abused as a "turncoat."

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
  • I have no use for Jews, especially for a turncoat, and I will see that you get the limit of the court.

    Riches of Grace E. E. Byrum
British Dictionary definitions for turncoat


a person who deserts one cause or party for the opposite faction; renegade
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for turncoat

1550s, from turn (v.) + coat (n.). Originally one who tried to hide the badge of his party or leader. The expression to turn one's coat "change principles or party" is recorded from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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