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Word of the Day
Friday, January 05, 2018

Definitions for turncoat

  1. a person who changes to the opposite party or faction, reverses principles, etc.; renegade.

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Citations for turncoat
A turncoat is the angry name for a convert, but you are no converts; how then can you be turncoats? George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton, A Letter to the Tories, 1747
With Roy comes big trouble, and aging sheriff Bill McNue (Scott McNairy) does his best to protect his people. But Frank and his gang are tearing up nearby towns hunting the turncoat, and a showdown looms. Kelly Woo, "6 things to know about 'Godless,' Netflix's star-packed limited-series western," Yahoo! News, November 21, 2017
Origin of turncoat
There are several possibilities for the origin of turncoat. One is that two English barons in the early 13th century changed fealty to King John (c1167–1216), literally changing their coats of arms from one lord to another. Another is that during the siege of Corfe Castle (1645) during the English Civil Wars (1642–51), Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers turned their coats inside out to match the colors of the Royalist army. A similar expression “to wear the King’s coat,” dating from the mid-19th century, means “serve in the King’s army.” The now obsolete idiom “to be in someone else’s coat,” dating from the mid-16th century, meant the modern “to be in someone else’s shoes.” Turncoat entered English in the 16th century.