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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lynchers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And when the juries were finally obtained, although the evidence was conclusive, they acquitted the lynchers, one after another.

    Following the Color Line Ray Stannard Baker
  • The lynchers had arrived, and they were hammering on the door.

    Frank Merriwell's Bravery Burt L. Standish
  • The judge had an agonized vision of regulators and lynchers.

    The Prodigal Judge Vaughan Kester
  • The lynchers raised their rifles and emptied them, but not at the house.

  • General and soldiers are in the precise position, before the law, of a mob of lynchers carrying out the judgment of a Lynch court.

  • These western hills were rocky, and at their end a growth of firs, scrub oak, and brush gave the lynchers shelter.

  • Even the lynchers were forced to admit that Everest was the most "dead game" man they had ever seen.

    The Centralia Conspiracy Ralph Chaplin
  • I didn't sleep much in Elreno jail, for I wanted to be wideawake when the lynchers came.

    Frank Merriwell's Bravery Burt L. Standish
  • The lynchers placed him on a horse under a tree, and then drove the animal away, leaving him suspended from a limb.

British Dictionary definitions for lynchers


(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 lynchers



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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