civil rights

plural noun

Definition of civil rights 

: the nonpolitical rights of a citizen especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress was charged with violating the victim's civil rights

Examples of civil rights in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Wilma Rudolph won three Olympic golds and was among the first athletes to use her celebrity to fight for civil rightsFor Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph, the proverbial starting line was way behind most Americans. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman," 8 June 2018 In its day, the civil rights publication La Raza, which was based in Lincoln Heights, served as a bible for the Chicano movement, covering protest, policy and everyday life for the Mexican American communities of Los Angeles. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 Influenced by social forces like the labor movement, feminism, and the struggle for civil rights, 20th-century historians gradually broadened their vision beyond the old themes of politics and war to include a fuller range of humanity. Amy Crawford,, "Why is history always about humans?," 13 July 2018 Leonard James III, chair of the NAACP Image Awards committee, said last year that a long record of fighting for civil rights is behind the significant African-American gains. Lynn Elber,, "Emmy diversity gets a boost from Ricky Martin, Issa Rae," 13 July 2018 New Jersey expanded its civil rights law to protect nursing mothers from discrimination at work, joining 28 states that offer workplace protections. Rebecca Beitsch, The Christian Science Monitor, "All US states now allow breastfeeding in public," 13 July 2018 Their viciousness kicked off a series of events that tarnished Hawkins’ momentous achievement and led even today to criticism of the civil rights leader. Lauren Ritchie,, "Lake County owes Virgil Hawkins recognition and a thank you for role in civil rights struggle," 12 July 2018 That policy was overturned by an executive order after outcry from the public, civil rights groups, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "'Eligible' Children Under 5 Have Been Reunited With their Families, Trump Administration Says," 12 July 2018 The federal government has reopened the murder case of Emmett Till, a black teen whose grisly murder more than 60 years ago after being accused of whistling at a white woman shocked the nation and helped prompt the civil rights movement. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Justice Dept. reopens Emmett Till murder case that helped inspire civil rights movement," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil rights.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civil rights

circa 1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for civil rights

see civil

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The first known use of civil rights was circa 1614

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More Definitions for civil rights

civil rights


English Language Learners Definition of civil rights

: the rights that every person should have regardless of his or her sex, race, or religion

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