a town in Massachusetts in the eastern US, famous for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, when many women were taken to a court of law and then officially killed because they were thought to be witches (=women who use magic powers to do bad things). People sometimes use the word 'witch-hunt' to describe situations in which innocent people are punished for things they did not do or for having opinions that other people do not approve of, especially the situation in the US when the HUAC punished people who were believed to be Communists.

Dictionary results for "Salem"
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