Definition of lynch in English:
- 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, early form of lynch law 'the practice of killing an alleged criminal by lynching', named after Capt. William Lynch, head of a self-constituted judicial tribunal in Virginia circa1780.
During the War of American Independence ( 1775–83) a Captain William Lynch of Pittsville, Virginia, headed a self-constituted court with no legal authority which persecuted ‘Tories’, or people who supported the British side. People called this illegal punishment Lynch's law or lynch law. The penalties handed out were beatings or tarring and feathering, but by the mid 19th century to lynch a supposed offender was generally to hang him.
- Example sentences
- 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.
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