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See also: witchhunt and witch hunt


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Alternative forms[edit]


From witch +‎ hunt.



witch-hunt (plural witch-hunts)

  1. (now chiefly historical) A search for people believed to be using sorcery or harmful magic, typically in order to persecute or punish them.
    • 1885, H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines:
      To-night ye will see. It is the great witch-hunt, and many will be smelt out as wizards and slain.
    • 2017, Ronald Hutton, The Witch, Yale University Press, published 2018, page 27:
      The rupturing of British rule over India in the rebellion of 1857 permitted a great witch-hunt, with lethal effects, to occur among the tribes of northern India.
  2. (by extension) An attempt to find and punish or harass a group of people perceived as a threat, usually on ideological or political grounds.
  3. (by extension) A public or political campaign or investigation which smears a person or group.
    • 2008, Mike Adams, Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts "Womyn" on Campus, Penguin, →ISBN:
      Even fewer people could believe that the UNCW administration would actually undertake a witch hunt against me, even going so far as to invoke their right to read my personal e-mails because they were on the university's system.
    • 2012, Hugh Maguire, My First 40 Jobs: A Memoir, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 308:
      I defended myself vigorously on that complaint as well; also mentioning that Julie Ann Wilks had always disliked me and had been conducting “a witch hunt” against me. As soon as I said the words “witch hunt” Katy interrupted and wouldn't let me continue []
    • 2016 May 15, Donald Trump, tweet quoted in 2019, Lindy West, The Witches Are Coming, Hachette Books (→ISBN)
      The media is really on a witch-hunt against me. False reporting, and plenty of it - but we will prevail!

Related terms[edit]



witch-hunt (third-person singular simple present witch-hunts, present participle witch-hunting, simple past and past participle witch-hunted)

  1. (informal) To perform a witch-hunt.

See also[edit]