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>


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

VIGILANTISM Defined for Kids


noun vig·i·lan·te \ˌvi-jə-ˈlan-tē\

Definition of VIGILANTE for Kids

:  a member of a group of volunteers who are not police but who decide on their own to stop crime and punish criminals


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