from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To punish (a person) without legal process or authority, especially by hanging, for a perceived offense or as an act of bigotry.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See linch.
  • To punish by lynch-law; punish summarily, for a crime or public offense of any kind, without authority of law; specifically, to punish with death in this manner. See lynch-law.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To inflict punishment upon, especially death, without the forms of law, as when a mob captures and hangs a suspected person. See lynch law.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb pejorative To execute (somebody) without a proper legal trial or procedure, especially by hanging.
  • verb pejorative To commit an act of violence by a mob upon the body of another person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb kill without legal sanction


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From lynch law.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested 1835, from Lynch law that appeared in 1811. There is a popular claim that it was named after William Lynch, but equally strong arguments would have it named after Charles Lynch.



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  • "Named after Capt. William Lynch, head of a self-constituted judicial tribunal in Virginia, c. 1780." - from my Oxford American Dictionaries widget.

    December 5, 2007

  • ‘The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,’ Lev-Rom said, ‘including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call “cold” weapons, as opposed to live fire. It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.’ , 31May2010

    June 1, 2010

  • A bit like a press hatchet job on the truth, eh Mel.

    June 2, 2010