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English definition of “vigilante”

vigilante

noun [C]     /ˌvɪdʒ.ɪˈlæn.ti/ US  /-ˈlæn.t̬i/
a person who tries in an unofficial way to prevent crime, or to catch and punish someone who has committed a crime, especially because they do not think that official organizations, such as the police, are controlling crime effectively. Vigilantes usually join together to form groups.Punishing and punishmentsPunishing by causing painHitting and beating vigilantism     /-tɪ.zəm/ US  /-t̬ɪ.zəm/ noun [U] Punishing and punishmentsPunishing by causing painHitting and beating
(Definition of vigilante noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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