Dictionary

vigilante

noun vig·i·lan·te \ˌvi-jə-ˈlan-tē\

: a person who is not a police officer but who tries to catch and punish criminals

Full Definition of VIGILANTE

:  a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly :  a self-appointed doer of justice
vig·i·lan·tism \-ˈlan-ˌti-zəm\ noun

Examples of VIGILANTE

  1. <the danger of these self-appointed vigilantes is that they sometimes go after innocent people>

Origin of VIGILANTE

Spanish, watchman, guard, from vigilante vigilant, from Latin vigilant-, vigilans
First Known Use: 1856

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with VIGILANTE

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: vigilantnessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: vigilantAll Words Near: vigilante
March 28, 2015
persiflage Hear it
Frivolous bantering talk
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears