(Of a group of people) kill (someone) for an alleged offence without a legal trial, especially by hanging: her father had been lynched by whites (as noun lynching) in that year there were twenty-six lynchings of blacks in the USA
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- Angry mobs lynching someone suspected of murder is wrong, even if that person is actually guilty.
- Blake was accused of killing his wife, and they want to lynch him.
- If you just grabbed an unconvicted murderer off the street and lynched him, you would be a murderer in your own right.
mid 19th century: from Lynch's law, named after Capt. William Lynch, head of a self-constituted judicial tribunal in Virginia circa1780.
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- Likewise, the collective anonymity of the executioners ensured that few lynchers were ever prosecuted.
- But federal investigations into lynchings could only concentrate on trying to prove that the lynchers had violated their victims' civil rights.
- In effect, lynchers could go about their horrific deeds with the protection of the law and little fear of retribution.