civil liberty


: freedom from arbitrary governmental interference (as with the right of free speech) specifically by denial of governmental power and in the U.S. especially as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights
usually used in plural
civil libertarian noun or adjective

Examples of civil liberty in a Sentence

Freedom of speech is a civil liberty.
Recent Examples on the Web With the rise of AI, civil liberties groups have raised concerns about the privacy rights of citizens who are not only being recorded, but whose actions will now be evaluated without their consent. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2023 In Freedom House’s annual assessment of political rights and civil liberties, Eritrea scores the same as North Korea. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 These laws, along with existing prohibitions on copyright infringement, defamation and harassment, preclude the need for a deepfake law, said David Greene, civil liberties director at digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation. Patrick Coffee, WSJ, 6 Nov. 2023 Yesterday, the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee grilled Commissioner Ylva Johansson on reports that her proposal resulted from improper lobbying by American and British pressure groups. Bydavid Meyer, Fortune, 26 Oct. 2023 The Institute for Justice, a non-profit civil liberties group representing the landowners, is asking the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which held that claims against the state could not proceed. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2023 Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment to protecting civil liberties. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 29 Sep. 2023 That same year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the department to commission a National Academy of Sciences study of face recognition's impact on privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. WIRED, 25 Sep. 2023 The military junta, which seized power on Wednesday when members of the presidential guard surrounded Bazoum’s house and detained him, is already cracking down on the government and civil liberties. Sam Mednick, Chicago Tribune, 31 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'civil liberty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1614, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of civil liberty was in 1614

Dictionary Entries Near civil liberty

Cite this Entry

“Civil liberty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition

civil liberty

: freedom from arbitrary interference in one's pursuits (as in expressing thoughts, practicing a religion, or pursuing a living) by individuals or especially by the government and especially as constitutionally guaranteed
usually used in pl.
see also civil right
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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