witch hunt

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witch hunt

An attempt to blame and punish people who hold unpopular views and opinions, often under the guise of some other investigation. The ruling party's witch hunt against its detractors sparked a civil war.
See also: hunt, witch

witch hunt

a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views.
The expression was inspired by the persecution in former times of people believed to be witches, often culminating in execution by burning.
See also: hunt, witch
References in periodicals archive ?
In Witch-Hunt and Conspiracy, Nicholas Herriman challenges the primacy of these national-level factors.
The term "witch-hunt" has been used since the 1930s as a metaphor to refer to moral panics in general (frantic persecution of perceived enemies).
The Oxford Dictionary of English describes a witch-hunt as "a search for and subsequent prosecution of a supposed witch", or "a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views".
Why this resurgence of a persecution in some ways reminiscent of the European 17th century witch-hunts? This is a difficult question to answer, if we wish to go beyond the immediate causes.
(23) Behringer finds that the witch-hunts in Europe are found to be statistically correlative to a spell of extreme climate known as the "Little Ice Age," concentrating in the years from 1560 to 1630, the Little Ice Age's peak period.
Studies into Scottish witch-hunting include Christina Larner's much revered Enemies of God: the Witch-Hunt in Scotland (1981) and the more recent Julian Goodare (ed.), The Scottish Witch-Hunt in Context (2002) which contains essays covering the Scottish witch-hunt in its entirety (from mid-sixteenth century to early eighteenth century).
The silent shame of the witch-hunts and denigration of gays was revealed.
These omissions are symptomatic of the `wink and smile' attitude on the part of the senior military brass toward witch-hunts," says Michelle Benecke, a former Army officer who with Osburn is the SLDN's other co-executive director.
Activists claim antigay witch-hunts become the military's ultimate weapon againts women who are saying no to sexual harassment
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has been monitoring the implementation of "don't ask, don't tell" since the policy's inception, has recorded over 700 violations of the policy, over 2,000 discharges, and 28 witch-hunts. (The SLDN also provides advice and legal assistance to service members whose careers are put in jeopardy by military witch-hunts and investigations.
The witch-hunt against Corbyn WILD accusations, alternative facts, special prosecutors - the Salem witch trials of 1692 had it all.
The discussion of the overall size of the European witch-hunt is the best there is, resting securely on Behringer's wide-ranging research.
This study is concerned with England's one real 'witch-hunt' which took place in East Anglia between 1645 and 1647, against the background of the Civil War: some 300 men and women were tried and over a hundred were executed.
He said: ``That is not a witch-hunt.'' At earlier sittings of the committee, issue had been made of former Operation Care boss John Robbins going to work for solicitors handling compensation, after he retired from the force.
The European witch-hunt of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is an event so complex and resonant that its historiography has almost become a field in itself.