Definition of witch-hunt in English:



  • 1A search for and subsequent persecution of a supposed witch.

    • ‘Oster also studied modern African witch-hunts and found that most victims were older women.’
    • ‘So outraged was Miller that he wrote this allegorical play about the witch-hunts of Salem Massachusetts in the late 1600's as a way of demonstrating how ignorance, deceit, fear and mass hysteria can grip a community and all but destroy it.’
    • ‘Old women were the stereotypical victims of earlier witch-hunts, but this hunt focused on vagrants and beggars, mostly boys and young men.’
    • ‘Speakeasy is working on a documentary on witch-hunts in Scotland, looking at why 10% of the witches killed in Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries were killed in Scotland.’
    • ‘Their mutual devotion carried them through several witch-hunts, aroused both by their heretical views on marriage and Mary's newfound gifts as a medium and spiritual healer.’
    1. 1.1informal A campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views.
      • ‘President Putin tried to redress the balance by warning against ethnic witch-hunts.’
      • ‘The item accepted Hayward entirely on his own terms as the victim of a merciless witch-hunt.’
      • ‘I was looking at the FBI files and saw that my mother had written protesting the government's witch-hunt of the labor unions.’
      • ‘He claimed he was the victim of a witch-hunt by fellow officers who said he actively sought complaints against him.’
      • ‘Gogo said the investigations should not be viewed as a witch-hunt to remove councillors before the municipal elections.’
      • ‘The film is about a Hollywood screenwriter who is blacklisted as part of an anti-Communist witch-hunt.’
      • ‘In the early Cold War Era, amid anti-Communist witch-hunts and nuclear threats, most American humorists followed the safe path of presenting apolitical consensus-oriented material.’
      • ‘Elderly paediatricians and pathologists fear that they are becoming the victims of a witch-hunt.’
      • ‘He was among the earliest figures to publicly confront Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunt.’
      • ‘However, he had outspoken left-wing political sympathies and at the time of the anti-Communist witch-hunts in the 1940s and 1950s he was dogged by various investigating committees.’
      • ‘After World War Two Claudia, along with thousands of other US radicals, fell foul of the anti-Communist witch-hunt.’
      • ‘However, during the McCarthy-era anti-communist witch-hunts he was once again named as a risk to national security by an informer who described him as ‘an active and fanatical Stalinist’.’
      • ‘She was speaking about the recent anti-paedophilia campaign in this country and mob-ruled witch-hunts in Portsmouth over the weekend.’
      • ‘The most famous question of the anti-communist witch-hunts in America was ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?’’
      • ‘The U.S. Congress, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, conducted witch-hunts in search of Communist sympathizers.’
      • ‘Her release has been carefully planned to avoid a tabloid witch-hunt and to reduce the possibility she may be threatened or attacked.’
      • ‘She has portrayed herself as a victim of a witch-hunt by power-mad officials who would use circumstantial evidence to ruin her reputation and career.’
      • ‘This was the basis on which the Cold War witch-hunt was launched inside the US.’
      • ‘Most coverage of his problems portrays the computer scientist as the victim of a political witch-hunt, and so misses the real story, which is about his links to terrorism.’
      • ‘The problem is that what originally started out as a health campaign, has more or less turned into a witch-hunt in Norway.’
      • ‘Kinsey's first major work on sexuality appeared during the first years of the Cold War, on the eve of the McCarthyite witch-hunts.’



/ˈwiCH ˌhənt/