vigilante

(redirected from vigilanteism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

vigilante

n. someone who takes the law into his/her own hands by trying and/or punishing another person without any legal authority. In the 1800s groups of vigilantes dispensed "frontier justice" by holding trials of accused horse-thieves, rustlers and shooters, and then promptly hanging the accused if "convicted." A mother who shoots the alleged molester of her child is a vigilante.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
What interests him is a "modern-day vigilanteism," [13] that is, community patrols organized, staffed, and implemented by ordinary citizens.
Further on, we learn that "the essence" of community law enforcement (a phrase he seems to use interchangeably with "community policing," "community patrolling," and "modern-day vigilanteism") is "enforcing the standards of the community within that community and keeping out strangers who are up to no good." [146] In short, what he has in mind is a program of active harassment and "rousts" of undesirables carried out by citizen patrols rather than the public police.
In assessing the potential efficacy of Neely's "modern-day vigilanteism" one must first consider the aim.
And that limited recommendation could be enthusiastically endorsed only if there were no other reasons to be concerned about "modern-day vigilanteism."
Ahern said: "Even if the IRA were disbanded, all weapons put beyond use and there was a complete end to vigilanteism and punishment attacks and full support given to the Police Service of Northern Ireland there would be insufficient time to establish confidence for government participation to be realistic.''