(Editor's Note: Okay, as you probably already know, the above guy isn't Jean Martinet. In fairness to us, it is really fucking hard to find a picture of an obscure French guy who died in the 1600s.)
A dick who follows the rules, no matter what
Jean Martinet was really awesome at coming up with new ways to kill people or to kill people more efficiently, which was useful in 17th Century France, where killing people was all the rage. He introduced the bayonet, thus finally getting rid of the "pointy-sticks" part of the French military. He also actually made warfare more humane by inventing the depot system. Instead of raping and burning their way across whatever land they were in, including their own country, soldiers got food and clothing from storehouses on the road.
One of these people might be Jean Martinet.
How it Happened:
He also introduced drill methods to turn a bunch of hayseeds and mercs into a disciplined fighting force, and he quickly got a reputation for being a merciless prick. How merciless? A martinet is now the term for a humorless prick who rigidly follows the rules, no matter what. It's also the name of a whip.
Also considered humorless.
Later, Martinet died by "friendly fire" during battle, which we like to imagine involved about 17 of his own men "accidentally" stabbing him in the head.
To put to death without a trial, usually by hanging
Things were pretty hairy during the Revolutionary War and, sometimes, you couldn't wait for details like "evidence" or "due process." Which is where Charles Lynch comes in.
Odd for a Quaker, Lynch really liked being in power and bossing people around. The Quakers actually booted him out for taking an oath of office, which handily lifted any sort of pansy-ass ideas about pacificism and paved the way for Lynch to tell other people to beat up some guy.
"That guy. He looks pretty guilty, I guess."
How it Happened:
Unlike most people, who if they wanted to kick ass joined the army, Lynch didn't like his opponents to be able to fight back. Hence, he rounded up anybody he thought was supporting the king and did everything from forcing them into the army to stealing their shit. Or he just had them whipped.
Under what law? HIS law. More specifically, the Lynch law, which in turn is the source for lynching, which today brings to mind crowds of rednecks with torches hanging a minority from a tree.
That's because Lynch had beating total strangers without due process legitimized by the Virginia government in 1782, thus laying down a fine Southern tradition which has endured to modern times.
Way to go, Chuck!
For some filthy etymology, check out 8 Everyday Words With X-Rated Origins. Or get your vernacular in check with 9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think.
And be sure to check out Cracked.com's Top Picks because the word "links" is derived from... just check them out, ok?