Definition of vigilante noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænti//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænti//
(sometimes disapproving) Solving crime
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a member of a group of people who try to prevent crime or punish criminals in their community, especially because they think the police are not doing this vigilantes patrolling the streets vigilante groups The neighbours have formed a vigilante group to keep a watch on the car park. Two vigilantes who took the law into their own hands were cleared yesterday of murder. See related entries: Solving crime Word Originmid 19th cent.: from Spanish, literally ‘vigilant’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: vigilante