- a member of a vigilance committee.
- any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
- done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures: vigilante justice.
Origin of vigilante
Examples from the Web for vigilantism
And people might think twice about Zimmerman-style vigilantism in the future, she said.Sanford Mourns the Loss of Trayvon All Over Again
July 14, 2013
But it was never a place where vigilantism ensured arbitrary enforcement of codes of behavior.Shirin Tahir-Kheli: Pakistan Is Everybody’s Problem
October 12, 2012
They're concerned about Jones' tactics, Tangen explains, because he flirts with vigilantism and seems to court the media.Meet the Superhero Vigilantes
December 6, 2010
- US the methods, conduct, attitudes, etc, associated with vigilantes, esp militancy, bigotry, or suspiciousness
- one of an organized group of citizens who take upon themselves the protection of their district, properties, etc
- Also called: vigilance man US a member of a vigilance committee
Word Origin and History for vigilantism
"member of a vigilance committee," 1856, American English, from Spanish vigilante, literally "watchman," from Latin vigilantem (see vigilance). Vigilant man in same sense is attested from 1824 in a Missouri context. Vigilance committees kept informal rough order on the frontier or in other places where official authority was imperfect.