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vigilante

[vij-uh-lan-tee] /ˌvɪdʒ əˈlæn ti/
noun
1.
a member of a vigilance committee.
2.
any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
adjective
3.
done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures:
vigilante justice.
Origin
1825-1835
1825-35, Americanism; < Spanish: vigilant
Related forms
vigilanteism, vigilantism
[vij-uh-lan-tiz-uh m, vij-uh-luh n-tiz-uh m] /ˌvɪdʒ əˈlæn tɪz əm, ˈvɪdʒ ə lənˌtɪz əm/ (Show IPA),
noun
Can be confused
vigilant, vigilante.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for vigilantism
  • It strikes me as a type of misguided, self-righteous vigilantism.
  • vigilantism is never okay, and the ends do not justify the means.
  • But vigilantism is a risky business, particularly when it carries an odor of race baiting.
  • Penalties for vigilantism or other misuse of information obtained under this chapter.
  • Remember that this is a watch program, not vigilantism.
  • vigilantism was one method by which the anti-professional gambler sentiment manifested itself.
  • vigilantism and spontaneous mob killings in response to crime continued to be a problem.
  • Nonetheless, human rights organizations stated that uniformed vigilantism persisted on a nonlethal level.
  • vigilantism, involving spontaneous mob executions in response to crime, continued to be a problem.
  • Nonetheless, human rights organizations stated that uniformed vigilantism persisted on a less-than-deadly level.
British Dictionary definitions for vigilantism

vigilantism

/ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænˌtɪzəm/
noun
1.
(US) the methods, conduct, attitudes, etc, associated with vigilantes, esp militancy, bigotry, or suspiciousness

vigilante

/ˌvɪdʒɪˈlæntɪ/
noun
1.
one of an organized group of citizens who take upon themselves the protection of their district, properties, etc
2.
(US) Also called vigilance man. a member of a vigilance committee
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, from Latin vigilāre to keep watch
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
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Word Origin and History for vigilantism

vigilante

n.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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