A person who is not a member of law enforcement but who pursues and punishes persons suspected of lawbreaking.
[Spanish, watchman, vigilante, from Latin vigilāns, vigilant-, present participle of vigilāre, to be watchful, from vigil, watchful; see weg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
vig′i·lantism (-lăntĭz-əm), vig′i·lante·ism (-tē-ĭz′əm) n.
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