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confederate Options
Daemon
Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/7/2009
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Location: Inside Farlex computers
confederate

(noun) A person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan).

Synonyms: accomplice

Usage: What he felt was that he had caught The Man and his confederate with the goods.
ethaar
Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012 9:49:00 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 2
Neurons: 6
Location: Poland
I was wondering, does it apply to anybody who "joins with another in carrying out some plan", or do they have to formalize it somehow? The direct translation of the word "confederation" in my native language (given by several dictionaries) implies a certain level of organization and formality.
HWNN1961
Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012 11:30:58 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/13/2010
Posts: 3,494
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ethaar wrote:
I was wondering, does it apply to anybody who "joins with another in carrying out some plan", or do they have to formalize it somehow? The direct translation of the word "confederation" in my native language (given by several dictionaries) implies a certain level of organization and formality.




Yes, and they also have to wear grey uniforms and shout "damn yankees!". It's a rule.
GeorgeV
Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012 11:35:12 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/3/2009
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Neurons: 2,410
Location: Canada
Confederates - birds of a feather (from Ger. Feder) - sorry, I just could not stifle this observation.
MTC
Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012 7:55:00 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/2011
Posts: 2,780
Neurons: 8,606
ethaar wrote:
I was wondering, does it apply to anybody who "joins with another in carrying out some plan", or do they have to formalize it somehow? The direct translation of the word "confederation" in my native language (given by several dictionaries) implies a certain level of organization and formality.


First of all, Happy New Year, and welcome to "the club."

In an interesting twist, the word "confederation" does imply a formal organization, but the word "confederate" may not. According to the American Heritage Dictionary on TFD,

con·fed·er·a·tion (kn-fd-rshn)
n.
1.
a. The act of forming into or becoming part of a confederacy.
b. The state of being confederated.
2. A group of confederates, especially of states or nations, united for a common purpose; a league.
3. Confederation
a. The union of the British North American colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada, brought about July 1, 1867, under the name Dominion of Canada.
b. The federal union of all the Canadian provinces and territories, the most recent member being Newfoundland in 1949.
con·feder·ation·ism n.
con·feder·ation·ist n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

So, "confederation" applies to formal, political unions. On the other hand, a "confederate" is a fellow schemer in a criminal plan. The word "confederate" is mostly used in expressions like, "your confederate in this scheme," meaning "your partner in crime." No formality of organization is necessarily implied.

A related word, "confederacy," may imply either a formal or an informal organization:

con·fed·er·a·cy (kn-fdr--s)
n. pl. con·fed·er·a·cies
1.
a. A union of persons, parties, or states; a league.
b. The persons, parties, or states joined in such a union.
c. Confederacy The Confederate States of America.
2. A group of people who have united for unlawful practices; a conspiracy.
[Middle English confederacie, from Anglo-Norman, from Late Latin cnfoederti, cnfoedertin-, agreement, from cnfoedertus, past participle of confoederre, to unite; see confederate.]

Jonathan Swift famously observed: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." (Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting)

Such are the turns and twists of English.



ethaar
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 10:54:52 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 2
Neurons: 6
Location: Poland
Thanks for clearing that up! For some reason I completely disregarded the existence of the word "confederacy" which is crucial in this case. Yay I'm in "the club" :D
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