rogues' gallery

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rogues' gallery (plural rogues' galleries)

  1. A set of pictures of convicted or suspected criminals used in law enforcement investigations to help witnesses identify suspects.
    • 1866, "Readings for the Young: The Rogues' Gallery," in The Christian Treasury, Johnstone, Hunter & Co. (Edinburgh), pp. 322-323:
      When the policemen arrest a man . . . if there is good reason to suspect him, they take his picture before they let him go. . . . Then they put the picture up in the rogues' gallery among the others, where everybody who comes there can see it.
    • 1984, William Diehl, Hooligans, →ISBN, p. 41
      "Recognize these people?" Dutch asked, pointing to the rogues' gallery.
      I nodded. "All of 'em. Cutthroats to the man."
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) A group of lawbreakers or other disreputable characters.
    • 1997, Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey, →ISBN, p. 325:
      The old staple of every demonstration: gully gully may shor hai, Congress Party chor hai—the cry goes up in every alley, Congress Party is a 'rogues' gallery—was very much in evidence.
    • 2006, "The Man Who Sold the Bomb," Time, 6 Feb.:
      For more than a decade, Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, masterminded a vast, clandestine and hugely profitable enterprise whose mission boiled down to this: selling to a rogues' gallery of nations the technology and equipment to make nuclear weapons.