witch hunt

(redirected from Witchhunt)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

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 ?
50 for adults and 50p for children - apply during the halerm week, although there is no extra charge for the witchhunt.
It's amusing when televangelist Jim Bakker gets caught, when National Security Council secretary Fawn Hall makes the news or when contra fundrasier Spitz Channell is discovered funneling money to his gay lover, but the glee should be tempered with some caution, for sexual witchhunts can be as vicious and destructive as racial lynching or political purges.
So it is that, at the dawn of democracy in the West, the first recorded political witchhunt takes place.
But O'Connor, 47, who is the mother of his 18-yearold daughter Roisin, said: "What's begun to happen is a bit of a witchhunt and it think it's quite dangerous.
Sir Alex Ferguson suggested there is a witchhunt for Rooney with a clamour for him to be "hung or electrocuted".
PAUL Gogarty's foul-mouthed outburst in the Dail has already gone international, but its global fame could lead to a witchhunt in the Oireachtas.
The latest witchhunt is aimed at air travel which, according to Louella Houldcroft, is responsible for the planet heating up (Voice of the North, September 23), but she fails to mention that the other planets are doing the same.
Of course it's easy to witchhunt the disabled, it takes our mind off the real scroungers within the Palace of Westminster.
During the McCarthyite witchhunt in America his passport was taken away and I was on the committee campaigning to get it back.
Me and my family have been subjected to a witchhunt.
In a furious response to today's release of the Government report, the Phoenix Four said: "The report is entirely as we expected - a witchhunt against us and a whitewash for the government.
But former England assistant coach Bob Cottam claims Moles was the victim of a witchhunt.
Dizaei's supporters have claimed that he is the victim of a racist witchhunt.
Charlie, who owns a farm shop in Cheshire, also responded to claims of a post-Jimmy Savile witchhunt for celebrities.
But the stunt was later branded "trial by Twitter" as a Cameron warned it could lead to a witchhunt against gays.