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[linch] /lɪntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.
Origin of lynch
1825-35, Americanism; v. use of lynch in lynch law
Related forms
lyncher, noun
antilynching, adjective
Can be confused
hang, lynch (see synonym study at hang)
Synonym Study
See hang.


[linch] /lɪntʃ/
John ("Jack") 1917–1999, Irish political leader: prime minister 1966–73, 1977–79. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lynch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Still one cannot deny that fancy is too prominent in Mr. lynch's writings.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • God help us, for I don't see any safety for this country 'cept Judge lynch.

  • In another country we know Judge lynch would preside at their trial.

    Australia Revenged Boomerang
  • But spite of all your tricks, it Is not in you Judge lynch to do.

    The Bon Gaultier Ballads William Edmonstoune Aytoun
  • "They're some kind of kid gang, social club, something like that," lynch said.

    Out Like a Light Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for lynch


(transitive) (of a mob) to punish (a person) for some supposed offence by hanging without a trial
Derived Forms
lyncher, noun
lynching, noun
Word Origin
probably after Charles Lynch (1736–96), Virginia justice of the peace, who presided over extralegal trials of Tories during the American War of Independence


David. born 1946, US film director; his work includes the films Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), Mulholland Drive (2001), and Inland Empire (2006), and the television series Twin Peaks (1990)
John, known as Jack Lynch. 1917–99, Irish statesman; prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1966–73; 1977–79)
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 lynch

1835, from earlier Lynch law (1811), likely named after William Lynch (1742-1820) of Pittsylvania, Virginia, who c.1780 led a vigilance committee to keep order there during the Revolution. Other sources trace the name to Charles Lynch (1736-1796) a Virginia magistrate who fined and imprisoned Tories in his district c.1782, but the connection to him is less likely. Originally any sort of summary justice, especially by flogging; narrowing of focus to "extralegal execution by hanging" is 20c. Lynch mob is attested from 1838. The surname is perhaps from Irish Loingseach "sailor." Cf. earlier Lydford law, from a place in Dartmoor, England, "where was held a Stannaries Court of summary jurisdiction" [Weekley], hence:

Lydford law: is to hang men first, and indite them afterwards. [Thomas Blount, "Glossographia," 1656]
Related: Lynched; lynching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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