Definition of Ku Klux Klan noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Ku Klux Klan

BrE BrE//ˌkuː klʌks ˈklæn//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkuː klʌks ˈklæn//
[singular + singular or plural verb] (abbreviation KKK) Race
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a secret organization of white men in the southern states of the US who use violence to oppose social change and equal rights for black people See related entries: Race Word Originperhaps from Greek kuklos ‘circle’ and clan. Culture The members wear long white robes (= loose clothing) and tall pointed hats to hide their identity. Their leader is called the Grand Wizard. They sometimes burn the Christian symbol of the cross in front of the houses of African Americans or people who support them. The organization was first formed in Tennessee in 1866 after the Civil War and was responsible for lynchings (= killing, especially hanging, people without a trial) and violent attacks on African Americans. It was made illegal in 1871. It began again in 1915, attacking not only African Americans but also Jews, Roman Catholics and people from foreign countries. It had nearly 5 million members in the 1920s, including many outside the South. The Klan became strong again in the 1960s when it opposed the civil rights movement, often with violence, but today it has less influence.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Ku Klux Klan