lynch law


noun

the administration of summary punishment, especially death, upon a suspected, accused, or convicted person by a mob acting without legal process or authority.

Origin of lynch law

1805–15, Americanism; after the self-instituted tribunals presided over by William Lynch (1742–1820) of Pittsylvania, Va., c1776
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British Dictionary definitions for lynch law

lynch law


noun

the practice of condemning and punishing a person by mob action without a proper trial
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 lynch law

lynch law


The punishment of supposed criminals, especially by hanging, by agreement of a crowd and without a genuine criminal trial. Lynch law was used in the early settlement of the West as a way of maintaining minimal law and order before a sheriff and courts could be set up. It has also been used to deprive unpopular suspects of their rights and to satisfy a mob's thirst for vengeance. Lynch law was often used by whites in the South to terrorize and subjugate blacks.

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.