kangaroo court


noun

a self-appointed or mob-operated tribunal that disregards or parodies existing principles of law or human rights, especially one in a frontier area or among criminals in prison.
any crudely or irregularly operated court, especially one so controlled as to render a fair trial impossible.

Nearby words

  1. kanga pirau,
  2. kangar,
  3. kangaroo,
  4. kangaroo care,
  5. kangaroo closure,
  6. kangaroo dog,
  7. kangaroo grass,
  8. kangaroo island,
  9. kangaroo paw,
  10. kangaroo rat

Origin of kangaroo court

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for kangaroo court

kangaroo court

noun

an irregular court, esp one set up by prisoners in a jail or by strikers to judge strikebreakers
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

Culture definitions for kangaroo court

kangaroo court

A court that ignores principles of justice; a court characterized by incompetence and dishonesty.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with kangaroo court

kangaroo court

A self-appointed tribunal that violates established legal procedure; also, a dishonest or incompetent court of law. For example, The rebels set up a kangaroo court and condemned the prisoners to summary execution, or That judge runs a kangaroo court—he tells rape victims they should have been more careful. This expression is thought to liken the jumping ability of kangaroos to a court that jumps to conclusions on an invalid basis. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.