Definition of kangaroo court
1 : a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted
2 : a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedures
kangaroo court was our Word of the Day on 11/10/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
A kangaroo court has never been a court by or for kangaroos, but beyond that, little is known for sure about the term's origins. Various theories abound: it has been suggested that kangaroo courts got their name because they were initially marked by rapid and unpredictable movement from one place to another, or that they were in some way associated with "jumping" (i.e., illegally occupying) mining claims. These hypotheses are all unsubstantiated, however. What is known is that the first kangaroo courts originated in the United States at approximately the time of the 1849 California Gold Rush, and the word saw its earliest use in the southwestern U.S. It first turned up in print in 1853 in a book about Texas.
First Known Use of kangaroo court
KANGAROO COURT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of kangaroo court for English Language Learners
: a court that uses unfair methods or is not a proper court of law
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