Etymology
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vigilante (n.)

"member of a vigilance committee," 1856, American English, from Spanish vigilante, literally "watchman," from Latin vigilantem (nominative vigilans) "watchful, anxious, careful," from vigil "watchful, awake" (from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively"). 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.

updated on June 03, 2017

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Definitions of vigilante from WordNet

vigilante (n.)
member of a vigilance committee;
Synonyms: vigilance man
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.