kangaroo court

noun

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

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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.

Examples of kangaroo court in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From the Metrodome to U.S. Bank Stadium, he's reported on everything from Case Keenum's Minneapolis Miracle, the offensive line's kangaroo court to Adrian Peterson's suspension. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, "Dan Chisena's speed and versatility win him spot on Vikings' roster," 7 Sep. 2020 American support for the court dissolved after 9/11, as American officials worried that the ICC would become an anti-American kangaroo court used by certain countries to constrain nation-state sovereignty. John Yoo, National Review, "The U.S. Must Reject the International Criminal Court’s Attack on Its National Sovereignty," 17 Mar. 2020 Faced with this, Republicans have been left making endless arguments about an unfair process, calling it a sham, a star chamber, a kangaroo court. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Crazy for Trump: On the G.O.P. Plan to Keep Impeachment Partisan," 14 Nov. 2019 Having experienced the culture of baseball’s kangaroo court, a former Tampa Bay Rays prospect is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court as a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas. Los Angeles Times, "MLB notes: Yankees’ Luke Voit takes a fastball to the chin," 20 July 2019 Next week’s hearing, as currently contemplated, will be a kangaroo court, because the Republicans have done everything in their power to prevent the consideration of any outside evidence, whether corroborating or exculpatory. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Tentative agreement reached for Kavanaugh-Ford hearing on Thursday, source says," 2 Oct. 2018 More headlines ►Meet Louisville basketball's three new assistant coaches ►From a kangaroo court to Louisville, Tyra takes command ►Graduate transfer big board: Who's on Louisville's radar? Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville will pay Xavier $2.9M to buy out Chris Mack's contract - plus cover his tax bill," 13 Apr. 2018 Eventually, Tyra graduated from kangaroo court sergeant and minigame connoisseur to the business world. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "From a kangaroo court to Louisville athletics, Vince Tyra has always taken command," 27 Mar. 2018 The Red Goose apparently didn't fly often enough or with enough gusto to protect Williams from his propensity for writing bad checks to local eating establishments, whose complaints compounded his problems with the fraternity's kangaroo court. Greg Garrison, AL.com, "Southern playwright Tennessee Williams majored in journalism at Mizzou," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kangaroo court.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kangaroo court

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of kangaroo court was in 1841

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kangaroo court.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kangaroo%20court. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for kangaroo court

kangaroo court

noun

English Language Learners Definition of kangaroo court

: a court that uses unfair methods or is not a proper court of law

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