- 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 vigilante
The lawless law enforcement in eastern Ukraine exists somewhere between Soviet rule and vigilante justice.The Corrupt Cops of Rebel-Held East Ukraine
December 11, 2014
And lefties are hailing him as a Batman-like vigilante for taking down a Fox News superfan.Meet Your New ‘Hot Mugshot Guy’: Sean Kory, Fox News’ Public Enemy No. 1
November 3, 2014
Slavery, segregation, and abortion led to civil war, vigilante violence, and massive protest movements.The Coming Gay Marriage Witch Hunt
June 19, 2014
Will California nominate a vigilante, busted boarding an airplane with a loaded gun, as the Republican alternative for Governor?Inside California's Crazy Race To Be The GOP Gubernatorial Candidate
May 30, 2014
A growing sex abuse scandal at the Ivy League institution has taken a vigilante turn.Someone Is Writing Lists of ‘Rapists’ on Columbia’s Walls
May 14, 2014
All those who had joined the vigilante movement were marked men.The Story of the Outlaw
There's nothing I'm so sick of hearing as this vigilante stuff.Laramie Holds the Range
Frank H. Spearman
"But I gave the vigilante his penny this morning," I said, hastening to the door.
"It's the vigilante," he said, returning to the veranda where we were sitting.
You don't mean to say she loves that Vigilante—that mining fellow?Miss Dividends
Archibald Clavering Gunter
- 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 vigilante
"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.