verb (used with object)

to subject to a witch hunt.


Nearby words

  1. witch of agnesi,
  2. witch's mark,
  3. witch's milk,
  4. witch-,
  5. witch-elm,
  6. witchcraft,
  7. witchery,
  8. witches' brew,
  9. witches' butter,
  10. witches' sabbath

Origin of witch-hunt

First recorded in 1925–30

Related formswitch-hunt·ing, noun

witch hunt

or witch-hunt



an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.

Origin of witch hunt

First recorded in 1925–30

Related formswitch hunter, noun

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

Examples from the Web for witch-hunt

British Dictionary definitions for witch-hunt



a rigorous campaign to round up or expose dissenters on the pretext of safeguarding the welfare of the public
Derived Formswitch-hunter, nounwitch-hunting, noun, adjective

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 witch-hunt

witch hunt


1630s in the literal sense; the extended sense is attested from 1932 (in witch-hunting), popularized in Cold War anti-Communist hysteria.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper