Collaborate, Collaborator, Collaboration, Collaborationism

According to my 1983 Webster Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary , collaborate came from the word collaboratus (Late Latin), with a past participle of collaborare meaning to labor together, from Latin  com-+ laborare to labor. Collaborate means 1. to work jointly with others or together exp. in an intellectual endeavor. 2. to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and esp. an occupying force. 3. to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected.  Collaborationism is the advocacy or practice of collaboration with an enemy.

The 1933 version of the Oxford English Dictionary listed only one definition for collaborate: “To work in conjunction with another or others, to co-operate; esp, in a literary or artistic production, or the like.” In those days, when one thought of collaboration, what came to mind was Gilbert and Sullivan. In the 1972 supplement of that dictionary, a second definition appeared – “To co-operate traitorously with the enemy”. The word had been used in that way since World War II.

The first definition both at Oxford English Dictionary and at Webster New Collegiate Dictionary is obviously inappropriate for books written about war in the Philippines. The other definitions are similar, but, a little different. The OED definition uses the word traitorously, and is rather restrictive. It refers only to those whose cooperation is traitorous; hence, it does not apply to those whose cooperation falls short of traitorous behavior. Webster’s definition is also restrictive in a different way. By using the words usu. willingly, Webster’s is making a judgment about attitude – a judgment that the OED does not appear to make. One can, after all, act traitorously but feel otherwise.

In my book, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May)”, I used the definition meaning simply to cooperate with the enemy.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of BAHALA NA (Come What May.

All rights reserved. Collaborate, Collaborator, Collaboration, Collaborationism

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