a hanging offence

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hanging offense

A crime, misdeed, or impropriety that is (hyperbolically) perceived to warrant death by hanging. Primarily heard in US. Political correctness has become so authoritarian these days that saying anything with even the slightest derogatory implication is seen as a hanging offense!
See also: hanging, offense
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a hanging offence

a fault or crime so serious that the perpetrator should be executed.
1998 Spectator It is hardly a hanging offence to overlook telegrams about a small African country, but surely the Prime Minister must read JIC reports?
See also: hanging, offence
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
"I don't think it was a hanging offence. I don't think it would merit ending Mr Halligan's political career, but I don't think what he did was acceptable, it was wrong."