“kangaroo court”

First, let’s deal with the pronunciation. The first “a” sounds like the “a” in “cat” and “bat”, while the second is like the “a” in “china”. The “oo” sounds like the “oo” in “cool”, “pool”, and “fool”. The main stress is on the final syllable.

The term “kangaroo court” is used to refer to a court of law where justice is not served; the legal rights of an individual are totally disregarded. “To kangaroo” someone means to convict someone on false charges. The original “kangaroo court” was not a real court, but a mock one. It was one set up by prisoners in large prisons to maintain order. Whenever a prisoner did something wrong, the other inmates decided the punishment that was to be handed out to the culprit.

Needless to say, justice wasn’t always served. The expression “kangaroo court” tells you what the Americans thought of the justice system in Australia. Remember, the first people to be sent to the land of the kangaroo were mostly prisoners from England.

*Some of our news channels have become kangaroo courts

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, Dec 06, 2004


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