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

  • transitive v. To execute without due process of law, especially to hang, as by a mob.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. 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 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. See linch.

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

  • v. kill without legal sanction


Short for lynch law.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)



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

    June 2, 2010

  • ‘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

  • "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