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lynch

[linch]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.
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Origin of lynch

1825–35, Americanism; v. use of lynch in lynch law
Related formslynch·er, nounan·ti·lynch·ing, adjective
Can be confusedhang lynch (see synonym study at hang)

Synonym study

See hang.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lynching

lynch

verb
  1. (tr) (of a mob) to punish (a person) for some supposed offence by hanging without a trial
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Derived Formslyncher, nounlynching, 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

Lynch

noun
  1. 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)
  2. John, known as Jack Lynch. 1917–99, Irish statesman; prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1966–73; 1977–79)
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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

Word Origin and History for lynching

lynch

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper