vigilante (n.) Look up vigilante at
"member of a vigilance committee," 1856, American English, from Spanish vigilante, literally "watchman," from Latin vigilantem (nominative vigilans) "watchful, anxious, careful," from vigil (see vigil). Vigilant man in same sense is attested from 1824 in a Missouri context. Vigilance committees kept informal rough order on the U.S. frontier or in other places where official authority was imperfect.